We are sad to report the news that our great benefactor Tony Pidgley has died. He was 72, a true colossus of the property world and a wonderful supporter of our cause.
Tony Pidgley’s CV is well-known: born to a single mother in 1947 and taken in by Barnardo’s, he was then adopted by travellers and lived in a railway carriage. As a boy, he worked cutting trees into logs, then left home at 15 in 1962, founding a haulage business soon after.
He was the founder and chairman of Berkeley Group Holdings, one of the UK’s largest housebuilding companies, and was well respected for his business acumen and shrewd dealings.
That might be so, but we at War Horse Memorial remember him as a kind and generous man whose substantial donation enabled us to build Poppy, our national memorial to the horses, mules and donkeys who gave service and sacrifice in World War 1.
Poppy stands proudly in Ascot and we understand Tony, as a great horse lover himself, took delight in her presence but modestly was reluctant to acknowledge the huge part he had played in her construction.
When the nation’s guides and brownies unveiled Poppy on June 8, 2018 Tony took his place in the line up of dignitaries, Ambassadors and friends laying wreaths at the feet of our wonderful monument, but wanted no special mention or accolade.
Tony advised successive Governments on regeneration, placemaking, housing and developing public land. He was a member of Lord Heseltine’s Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel, the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission and the Mayor’s Outer London Commission. He was the longest serving President in the history of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was awarded a CBE in 2013 for “services to the housing sector and the community”.
He was a true friend and supporter and our thoughts are with his wife, Sarah and his children and family at this sad time.