Sir Michael Heller, one of the Jewish community’s most prolific philanthropists and a captain of industry, has passed away following a brief time in hospital.
Born in July 1936, the chairman of property firm London & Associated Properties was a committed Zionist. Together with wife Lady Morven, he founded the Michael & Morven Heller charitable foundation in 1988 to support the arts, education and medicine.
A passionate philanthropist, he donated ambulances and mobile intensive care units to Magen David Adom, was a patron of the Jewish Museum and supported the work of Jewish educational network ORT.
Formerly deputy chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, he sat on the Board of the Centre for Policy Studies, a centre-right think tank.
In recognition of his support for charities and communal organisations, as well as the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre and Hampstead Theatre, Heller was knighted in 2013 for charitable service. He also received an Algemeiner Honouree in 2019.
James Gurd, executive director of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), said Sir Michael “has been a stalwart supporter and integral part of CFI for many decades, and was greatly respected across all levels of the Conservative Party. His passionate philanthropy in Israel and for so many charities has changed thousands of lives and will leave a powerful legacy. It is thanks to his selfless contributions that the UK-Israel relationship is stronger than ever. Our thoughts are with Lady Heller, Andrew and the Heller family at this most difficult time. May his memory be for a blessing. Yehi Zichro Baruch.”
Louise Hager, chair of Chai Cancer Care: “Chai will feel his loss tremendously: “He was there as a sounding board for, and a caring friend to Chai. Together with his wife Morven, Michael absolutely believed and recognised in what Chai were doing. We felt truly blessed to have such loyal friends who always showed such interest in our development for nearly three decades. A gentle, giant of a man, he was so modest and unassuming, and at the same time so perceptive, astute and a great philanthropist. An exceptional person in every way.
“The word is often used, but Sir Michael was a mensch. He was just always there. He will always be remembered with tremendous affection. He is part of Chai and always will be.”
Sir Michael is survived by his wife, sons Andrew and John and daughter Nicola.
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