Oil Chief And Great Giver
PATRON OF AIR PIONEERS
A Liverpool Man
Viscount Wakefield, oil magnate, philanthropist and patron of British enterprise In the realms of sport, speed and civil aviation, who was one of Liverpool's most famous sons, died today at Beaconsfield, Bucks, aged 81.
It is a tragic coincidence that he has died just over a week after Amy Johnson, whose grand efforts in the air he sponsored and helped.
Lord Wakefield was born in Wavertree in 1859, his father, John Wakefield, being a Customs official.
He was reared in a home that was marked by devotion to religion.
As Charles Cheers Wakefleld he was educated at the Liverpool Institute. He retained an for his old school and at its centenary in 1926 he gave £500 to the fund for a new playing field.
STARTED AS CLERK
On leaving school he was employed as a clerk in the offices of W H F Walker, oil manufacturers, of Water Street Liverpool, where he acquired technical knowledge which afterwards enabled him to make a great fortune. Leaving Walkers he became manager of the Vacuum Oil Company in Liverpool, and after a number of years they promoted him to London, where he became their agent for Great Britain and the Dominions. He was not yet 30.
Afterwards Lord Wakefield founded the firm of C.C.Wakefield and Co. Ltd., which later attained world-wide ramifications, and of which he became governing director.
He was also chairman of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company Co. Ltd.
At one time he lived at Fearnles, Russian Drive, Stoney-croft, and later at Beech Lea at the corner of Beech Street, Edge Lane, and he late taught a Sunday school class at St. Paul's Wesleyan Chapel, Old Swan.
In his youth he was an adept at games. He was a fast runner, a useful cricketer, and at one time he played as a dashing forward for old Wavertree Rugby Football Club.
THE "SMILING BOXER"
He shone best perhaps at boxing, and his ability to receive punishment from bigger opponents without wilting or loss of temper earned him the nickname of "the smiling boxer".
As a young man he worked hard at his job, more because of a natural energy than to achieve any fixed ambition. In the evening he played games and read Shakespeare., Emerson and Ruskin, for from an early age he nicely balanced his physical and mental recreations.
Lord Wakefield became known as the "patron saint of British civil aviation" and modestly covered all his acts of kindliness and generosity. He was universally recognised as "the prince of givers", his whole life being devoted to bringing happiness to others, and he often said it was that which gave him freshness and vitality at a time when most men begin to feel that they are growing old.
He once said he learned his philosophy of life from Robert Louis Stevenson, whom he met in Somoa, and the advice he received was "Fill your life with laughter and sunlight".
Lord Wakefield determined to carry out this advice still further, and consecrated his life to filling also the lives of others with laughter and sunshine. That he did in super-abundance. His charity knew no bounds.
GAVE OVER A MILLION
Without any show or desire for recognition he gave financial help to scores of hospitals and other charitable organisations. It is estimated that his total dispersements in this direction alone must have been well over a million pound.
His greatest passion in life was to see Britain lead in every form of achievement, and he spent at least another million pounds in ensuring her supremacy on land and water and in the air.
The development of aviation was his pet hobby, and as long ago as 1910 he addressed a public meeting in the City on the urgent imperial aspects of this form of transport.
SAW IT COME TRUE
He lived to see his own prophecy come true, that within 20 years from then there would bescarcely a corner of the earth which could not be reached within a few days from England.
Whenever those great flights occurred almost invariably the financial support and influence of Lord Wakefield were behind them.
He poured out money in financing some of the most successful flying ventures of the age.
Always an ardent imperialist he was behind most of the long distance flights, and financed the survey voyages made by Sir Alan Cobham to Africa, India and Australia.
He gave aeroplanes to flying clubs throughout the empire, large sums each year to the Royal Aero Club for their racing programmes, and subscribed generously towards the continuance of the Schneider Trophy contests.