Sainsbury pioneer dies aged 93

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The Independent Online

Sir Robert Sainsbury - one of the men who helped build the Sainsbury dynasty - has died, aged 93.

He joined the family business in 1930, and rose through the ranks to become joint president in 1969.

Sir Robert was also a well-known as a sponsor and patron of the arts.

A Sainsbury spokesman said Sir Robert died peacefully yesterday following a short illness.

He will be cremated at a private ceremony at a date to be decided.

He is survived by his wife Lisa and three children David, Celia and Annabel.

As well as his involvement in the supermarket group, Sir Robert and his wife founded the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia near Norwich.

He was knighted in 1967 for services to the arts.

Sir Robert rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming chairman of the company in 1967.

His interest in art saw him take up a number of posts at museums and art galleries at home and abroad.

One of Sir Robert's daughters, Annabel Kanabus, today, paid tribute to her father.

"He was a marvellous father and did an awful lot for other people," she said. "As well as help build up the chain as it is today, he helped young artists and did much for the arts generally."

Ms Kanabus said that her father, who lived in London, donated his art collection to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in 1978.