Sir Jack Hayward obituary

Businessman and philanthropist devoted to ‘all things British’ and especially Wolverhampton Wanderers

Not for nothing was Sir Jack Hayward, who has died aged 91, known as “union Jack”. The idiosyncratic Bahamas-based millionaire and philanthropist declared in his Who’s Who entry that his recreations were “keeping all things bright, beautiful and British”. His money brought the Great Britain steamship back to Britain and helped to restore her, bought Lundy Island for the nation and, for 17 years, kept his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers football team afloat.

But his generosity to the Liberal party in the 1970s, a quixotic gesture from a man whose views were so rightwing that he insisted on calling the BBC World Service “the Empire Service”, ended in tears when he was dragged into the Jeremy Thorpe affair. Some of the money donated by him to the party appeared to have been creamed off for the attempts to silence Thorpe’s former lover, Norman Scott, and Hayward appeared as a witness at Thorpe’s trial.

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