Sir Peter Harrison, Powerful Electronics Entrepreneur, Boater and Philanthropist – Obituary
A sports fanatic, Harrison was vice-chairman of Chelsea FC, but he denied rumors that he was considering making a hostile bid that skyrocketed the club’s shares in 2001. He also played tennis and golf , but his passion on dry land was rugby: he funded a new clubhouse for his local club Old Reigatian – “the best clubhouse in the south of England, but I would say that, right?” not ? – where on subsequent head-tight outings for the XV veterans, he considered himself 23 years older than his older teammate.
Other benefits include the Peter Harrison Center for Disability Sport at Loughborough University and the Peter Harrison Planetarium at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Savoring the recognition, he beamed with delight at every photo opportunity with royalty, sports stars or conservative politicians such as David Cameron at the 2015 election campaign to which he donated £ 50,000. But he could also be generous “under the radar,” as one disabled beneficiary put it, for smaller, more personal causes.
He was named CBE in 2010. The following year he celebrated the victory of Antigua Sailing Week in his elegant 115-foot Sojana ketch by offering to fund the restoration of Clarence House, a historic mansion overlooking the English port of the island, where Princess Margaret had spent part of her honeymoon; he also made a personal loan to finance an extension of the marina. In 2013, he was awarded the title of Knight of the Order of the Nation of Antigua and Barbuda.
He married Joyce (“Joy”) Kirby in 1962; they divorced in the mid-2000s and shortly before her death in 2012, Joyce testified – in a court case involving allegations of theft against their son’s ex-partner, who was acquitted – that she had suffered from many years of domestic violence in marriage.
Harrison is survived by their son and daughter, as well as his partner in his later years, Jana Zimmerhakl – “my best sailing award ever” – who was a member of Sojana’s racing crew.
Peter Harrison, born April 29, 1937, died June 18, 2021