Businessman Graham Morris dies aged 86

By IH 14/03 Updated: 14/03 08:52

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GRAHAM Morris, a former Warwick School pupil who went on to become a prominent international businessman, has passed away aged 86.

Graham, who died at Eversleigh Nursing Home in Leamington after a long illness, spent most of his career in the textile industry in the Far East and South America.

In retirement he went to live in Sherbourne, where he became chairman of the Barford Conservative Association for five years, president of Warwick School’s alumni association and a parish councillor.

A talented sportsman, he was active throughout his life and was still playing tennis at Warwick Boat Club – which flew the flag at half-mast last week – well into his eighties. He was also a keen golfer, both in the UK and in Singapore, during his visits to his son Ashley, who works in the pharmaceutical industry in the Far East.

Graham was born in Warwick and after attending Coten End School he won a scholarship to Warwick School in 1936 where, in his final year, he was captain of cricket and vice-captain of rugby.

It was the start of his lifelong love of the school, which led him to be an active member of the old boys’ association – for which he played rugby, cricket and tennis. He was president of the Old Warwickian Association in 1985

His son Ashley and nephews Gary Edwards and Mark Walters also attended the school.

With the Second World War still raging, he was unable to take up his place at Cambridge but instead joined the Royal Navy where, as a coder, he took part in the notorious Russian convoys before his demob in 1946.

In the autumn of that year, he took up his delayed place at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where his three years academic work culminated in a BA Honours in history. Again sport was to the forefront of his activities and he captained the college rugby XV and obtained his colours for cricket, squash and football.

From university it was off to work and he joined the textile industry. He moved north to join Tootal Broadhurst Lee in Manchester, initially as an executive trainee and then as a salesman for the UK, Europe, Rhodesia and South Africa.

His degree was followed by an MA in 1953 - the same year he married Peggy Edwards - who he had met while they were both still at school. They were to be married for 58 years.

Within only a month of their tying the knot the newlyweds were whisked off to Thailand for six years when he joined a company in Bangkok as their import and then export manager.

After Thailand, he joined English Sewing for whom he worked for the next 22 years. Initially, based in Singapore, he was responsible for selling and marketing yarn and textile products in Asia but he rapidly achieved promotion and became managing director of the Australian company and, in 1962, president of Allied Thread Philippines.

In 1970 they returned to England after he had been appointed a director of English Sewing and vice-chairman overseas operations, which involved a considerable amount of travel.

The couple returned to the Philippines in 1977, where he was chairman of English Sewing Hong Kong, president Allied Thread and a director of seven Asian-based companies.

Subsequently, in 1980, he was appointed chief executive in South America and they were off to Buenos Aires.

The following year he retired from the Tootal Group and returned to Manila as an independent textile consultant with the World Bank and then as a consultant with a company that specialised in advising clients on export marketing and management.

He is survived by his wife Peggy and son Ashley

The funeral service is at 1pm on Friday (March 16) at All Saints Church, Sherbourne - where he was a member of the choir.

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