Lives of the fellows

Granville Richard Francis Tompkins

b.15 May 1918 d.6 Dec 1992
CBE Hon FRCP(1985)

Richard Tompkins was a benefactor and Friend of the College. Originally introduced by the late Sir Ronald Gardner-Thorpe (q.v.) -ex-Lord Mayor of London, honorary Fellow and father of a Fellow, Richard quickly became a popular figure within the College and he and his wife were frequent attenders on guest nights. He was elected to honorary fellowship in 1985. His career was quite remarkable. From a humble beginning in North London, he built up a huge personal fortune based on his successful introduction of Green Shield stamps in 1958 and the subsequent acquisition of the Argos chain of shops. At one time he was the nation’s highest paid executive. Despite this, he was a modest man, humorously self-deprecating, never boastful. He was patron of the Tompkins Foundation and gave large sums to charity without seeking public acknowledgement. In 1942 he married Valerie Try and they had two daughters. The marriage was dissolved in 1970. His second marriage was to Elizabeth Duke and they had one daughter. Always dapper in dress - the invariable red carnation in his lapel - he was one of Nature’s gentlemen. Sadly, his last years were marked by ill health and we then saw little of him in the College. Sir Raymond Hoffenberg

[The Times, 9 & 29 Dec 1992,12 Jan 1993;The Guardian, 11 Dec 1992; The Daily Telegraph, 9 Dec 1992]

(Volume IX, page 523)

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