Born London, September 27, 1942. Died Nevis, West Indies, January 10, 2007, aged 64.
A SELF-MADE businessman, Sir Clive Bourne exemplified the tradition of using his resources for the benefit of the Jewish and wider community, but never put his own name on projects.
Born in a Salvation Army hospital in Stoke Newington — his mother Lily said the half-crown (12.5p) fee was her best investment — he grew up in a close-knit Ilford family. His father, Moss, was a founder member of Ilford Synagogue.
Clive left school at 15, determined to succeed. An early job dealing with formalities in an import-export business showed him the possibility of speeding up UK-Continental deliveries.
He set up Seabourne Express in 1962, operating from a telephone box in Shoreditch. Nineteen years later his overnight parcel service won a Queen’s Award for export achievement.
Meanwhile he had married Joy Ingram in 1967 and settled in Chigwell, Essex, supporting the synagogue and all major Jewish charities. In 1990 he was a founder patron, though always unlisted, of Jewish Care. He was also a funder and governor of King Solomon School in Barkingside.
In 1988 he won a second Queen’s Award. In the intervening seven years the Seabourne Group of companies had developed from a UK-Europe parcels service, with a £5 million annual turnover, to a completely integrated European organisation with over £23 million in turnover.
With 650 employees in Europe and at its Epping base, Clive Bourne had also expanded into air services in 1982 at the former RAF Manston base in Kent.
Negotiating a long lease from the Ministry of Defence in 1987, he added tourism to freight service. Kent International Airport’s passenger terminal opened in 1989 and, in homage to a famous former Jewish resident in nearby Ramsgate, the VIP lounge was named after Sir Moses Montefiore. The new venture opened the way into restaurant services and duty-free supplies to military and diplomatic centres.
Success in international communications brought the group to the attention of the Arab boycott office, which demanded the exclusion of Israel from its business activities. Clive Bourne r e f us e d t o b o w t o pressure. “We have always resisted. We have maintained our services to Israel and will always do so,” he stated in a letter to the JC in 1989.
In 1991, aged 47, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The life-changing event led him to sell the group’s peri-pheral businesses and concentrate on philanthropic projects like the Prostate Cancer Charitable Trust (now the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation) where he was founder chairman. In 1996 he became a founding trustee of the Museum of Docklands, which he helped set up West India Quay. He named a gallery after his mother-in-law, Esther Ingram.
He was also involved in Transaid, a logistical charity which ensures that donations, such as scooters for district nurses in Africa reach their destination.
Passionate about education and opportunities for youth, he responded to the prime minister’s call in 2002 to improve state education through privately funded city academies. Investing £2 million, he took over the site of the once distinguished Hackney Downs School, that had closed in 1995. He rebuilt it under architect Sir Richard Rogers, headhunted an outstanding headmaster and opened it in 2004 as Mossbourne Academy, in honour of his father. He visited often, taking a personal interest in the pupils and using his connections to take high profile guests to motivate them. His knighthood in 2005 recognised his service to government and community.
He died on holiday in the West Indian island of Nevis and was buried at the United Synagogue’s Waltham Abbey cemetery.
He is survived by his wife, four daughters and nine grandchildren.
Lord Adonis, Minister for Schools, writes: Clive Bourne combined his business acumen and philanthropy to extraordinary effect. Mossbourne will long be an inspiration to other academy sponsors nationwide.
Clive Bourne pictured in 1989