Prolific charity fundraiser
Friday 05 October 2007
Nigel Culliford Clark, advertising executive and charity fundraiser: born Hatch End, Middlesex 6 November 1935; joint managing director, Collett Dickenson Pearce 1987-89, deputy chairman 1990-91; joint vice-chairman, Lowe Howard Spink 1991-95; executive chairman, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity 1994-2006; President, Kempton Park Racecourse 2007; married 1970 Jane Archer (two daughters); died Helford, Cornwall 25 August 2007.
Nigel Clark used his skills as an advertising executive to help raise close to a quarter of a billion pounds for dozens of charities, most notably the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, the Kingston Hospital cancer unit in south-west London and St John Ambulance.
He was also one of the best-known figures in British horse racing, a racehorse owner, a steward at five courses, a member of the Jockey Club, chairman of the British Horseracing Board, a pioneer of Sunday racing and a staunch promoter of National Hunt racing (jump racing), especially at Kempton Park in Surrey, where he was president at the time of his death.
After retiring from advertising, Clark sat as a magistrate at Richmond upon Thames, where he was also Deputy Lieutenant for the borough. From 1991 to 1995, he was Governor of the Royal Star and Garter Home for war veterans.
It was, however, for his charity fundraising that Clark became best known outside racing. He was directly involved in raising more than £220m in the last two decades of his life. Closest to his heart were the children at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he was chief fundraiser from 1994 to 2006, helping raise more than £200m.
From 2002, he headed a fundraising appeal to build a cancer research and treatment unit at Kingston Hospital. Earlier this year, he displayed a £4.5m cheque accumulated from donors, which allowed construction of the unit to begin. It will open next year. He was also a trustee of the Jeans for Genes charity, raising money for the Children's Medical Research Institute to help children with genetic diseases.
When it came to his beloved "Sport of Kings," Clark saw there, too, opportunities more for giving than winning. He was a leading light in various organisations which coalesced into Racing Welfare, which raises funds for those who make little or no money from the sport – not only injured or retired jockeys, but also stable lads and girls, whom he described as the "unseen army who form the backbone of the sport".
For 20 years, he co-chaired charity dinners at Ascot on behalf of 30 leading charities. He also organised charity evening race meetings at Windsor and Kempton Park racecourses, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for St John Ambulance, the Priory of St John and Great Ormond Street.
Nigel Clark was born in Hatch End, Middlesex. He attended Repton School in Derbyshire, and carried out his National Service with the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars from 1955 to 1958. He began his career as a management trainee at the British Oxygen Company before moving into advertising, first as an account executive at London Press Exchange, and later as an associate director, before moving to Collett Dickenson Pearce. There he rose to be joint managing director and deputy chairman by 1991. From 1991 to 1995, he was joint vice-chairman at another advertising agency, Lowe Howard Spink.
He began his association with Great Ormond Street Hospital in the late 1980s at Collett Dickenson Pearce, where he was a involved with the hospital's "Wishing Well" campaign, with its hard-to-ignore teardrop logo. He then became executive chairman of the hospital's fundraising and public affairs department from 1994 to 2006, with a short break after his official retirement in 2000. Heading a team of 60 fundraisers and PR executives, he helped raise the hospital's gross income from £5m a year to almost £30m in 2006.
Nigel Clark suffered a heart attack after taking part in the annual sailing regatta off the Cornish village of Helford, where he had a country home for nearly 40 years.
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