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Farewell to one of town's most generous benefactors
5:00pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
A MAN with an extraordinary life story who has left a lasting legacy in his home town has died, aged 89.
Gordon Thompson died in Pennsylvania earlier this year, after a remarkable life.
Born in Warrington, he lived in Wilson Street off Folly Lane and attended Heathside and then Bewsey Secondary Schoool.
Always keen to better himself, he ran away from home at 14 to join a ship in Cardiff before later becoming a member of the Merchant Navy - which was very active in sailing in convoys during the Second World War.
Towards the end of the war his ship was sunk by a torpedo and he was rescued, being taken to a hospital in the USA.
He fell in love with his nurse and subsequently married and took American citizenship.
He noticed how much business in America was carried out by mail order due to the large distances. He rented a small office with a typewriter and set out on a path that would eventually lead to him being the president of one of the largest mailing companies in America.
While he enjoyed considerable wealth, he never forgot Warrington and decided to help people in his town.
In 1984 he set up a trust, firstly at Bewsey High, to send pupils on adventure holidays.
During the next 10 years many senior pupils enjoyed character building trips to outward bound colleges and other similar institutions.
A board of trustees was set up under the chairmanship of Reg Maddock, and the trust was managed on a day to day basis by the head of Bewsey High at that time, John Goodier.
When Bewsey closed in 1993 the trust continued to benefit Warrington young people including students at Priestley College, Sir Thomas Boteler High School and several primary schools.
At present, the trust is based at St Peter's RC Primary School in Woolston although pupils from other schools are equally qualified to benefit.
The original donation from Mr Thompson of £15,000 in 1984 is now worth well in excess of £70,000 with more than 100 students having benefited by awards over the years.
He is survived by his son (who now runs the company), a daughter and a grandson.