Tributes as major philanthropist and unsung community hero dies aged 92

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Tributes as major philanthropist and unsung community hero dies aged 92

Clive Marks OBE was a true champion of British Jewish education and former president of the London Jewish Cultural Centre

Clive Marks OBE has passed away.
Clive Marks OBE has passed away.

The Jewish community is mourning the loss of one of its greatest educational philanthropists. 

Clive Marks, OBE passed away peacefully on Monday 21st August at the age of 92, surrounded by his family.

As administrator of the former Ashdown Trust, initiated by property magnate Lord Ashdown, Clive oversaw £50 million of donations between 1977 and 2012.

As reported by Jewish News in 2021, his charitable work included saving the London School of Jewish Studies (the former Jews’ College) from bankruptcy and donating generously to the Reform movement. Through global education network World ORT, he funded schools in Latin America, and established the UJIA-Ashdown Fellowship, which helps students to study in Israel and the United States during their gap years.

Michael Wegier, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies, tells Jewish News that Marks was a ‘mensch’.

“Together with his wife Adrienne, they did not just arrange the funding of Jewish education, but they engaged with people in the field with a wisdom and grace that was beautiful to experience. The Lord Ashdowne Charitable Settlement made an enormous contribution to Jewish education in the UK and Clive and Adrienne were at its heart.

“Clive was smart and witty with an extraordinary knowledge of a vast array of subjects. He would often attend New North London Synagogue in recent years before he became too frail and we would continue discussing Jewish education and community until we were dragged apart. I will miss him enormously.”

A statement from World ORT paid tribute to Marks, who was also chair of the London College of Music for 15 years and a lecturer for more than four decades on the subject of music in the Third Reich.

The educational organisation described him as “one of the driving forces behind our world-leading music and the Holocaust website.”

Clive Marks OBE is pictured in 2017 with Dr. Shirli Gilbert, whose book ‘Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps’ was the basis for the World ORT website). Pic: World ORT

Sadler Johnson, the website project co-ordinator told Jewish News that Clive was “elderly but young at heart.”

Commenting further in the World ORT tribute, he added: “Clive became a dear friend in our 20 years of involvement with the project but had been a friend of ORT much longer. Professionally an accountant, his passion was music, with an encyclopaedic memory of composers, musicians and orchestras.

Clive Marks at his home recording a presentation for the Music and the Holocaust website. Pic: Sadler Johnson, World ORT

“Clive gave lectures at the Royal Festival Hall and at the United Nations in New York and was hoping to do the same for music and the Holocaust. As well as his music expertise and connections, Clive brought significant funding to the project and we will all sorely miss him and his ongoing contribution to ORT’s work globally.”

A chartered accountant for more than 50 years, Marks was also a life president of Norwood, a vice-chairman of the Council for Christians and Jews and a co-founder of the Cambodia Trust, which supports victims of anti-personnel land mines.

Mark Mishon, former ORT UK chair, said: “This is a very sad loss. Clive was a mensch and a great friend to ORT and to all who knew him. He was always there for us and his vision was matched by his generosity. There are many innovative projects that he championed that will be his lasting legacy.”

A member of Hampstead synagogue, he was awarded the Coventry International Peace Prize in 1999 by the Bishop of Coventry for his outstanding contribution to peace and reconciliation.

In 2006, Clive Marks was appointed OBE for his charity work and dedication to improving Christian and Jewish relations.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters.


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