MELVILLE SUM­MER­FIELD

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - LIVES IN BRIEF

THE busi­ness­man and tax ad­vi­sor Melville Sum­mer­field, who has died aged 81, was known for his pro­fes­sional in­tegrity and his in­volve­ment both with New­cas­tle upon Tyne syn­a­gogue and its com­mu­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, writes Faga Speker. He held ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions at Jes­mond Syn­a­gogue and was a coun­cil mem­ber of New­cas­tle’s United He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion for many years. He be­came its pres­i­dent in 1985 un­til 1988. He was also ac­tively in­volved in the de­vel­op­ment of the new syn­a­gogue in Gos­forth.

The elder son of Anne and Charles Sum­mer­field, Melville grew up in New­cas­tle upon Tyne with his par­ents, older sis­ter, Stella (who pre­de­ceased him in 2011) and his younger brother, Mau­rice. Af­ter leav­ing school in 1950 at the age of 15, he joined his fa­ther in the fam­ily whole­sale dis­tri­bu­tion busi­ness, which be­came a lead­ing toy dis­tri­bu­tion com­pany in the UK.

On retirement he took a new role as a tax ad­vi­sor, and he con­tin­ued to work for his clients un­til a few weeks be­fore his death. Melville served in the RAF dur­ing the 1950s, and be­came a proud and loyal mem­ber of AJEX, at­tend­ing many Re­mem­brance Pa­rades in Lon­don.He mar­ried San­dra Lin­skill in Oc­to­ber, 1952, set­tled in Gos­forth and they had two chil­dren, Kate and Gideon. Both his great-grand­fa­thers were Dayanim, and his grand­fa­ther Si­mon was one of the founders of the Gateshead Ortho­dox Jewish Com­mu­nity at the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury.

Melville was also a re­spected mem­ber of the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil for North East Jewry, be­com­ing Pres­i­dent, and rep­re­sent­ing the New­cas­tle com­mu­nity at The Board of Deputies for many years up to his death. He chaired the North East She­chita Board dur­ing the 1960s and '70s, en­sur­ing the con­tin­u­a­tion of kosher sup­plies for the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. He served on sev­eral com­mit­tees, in­clud­ing the Cen­tral Bri­tish Fund and the Ash­bur­ton Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion in Gos­forth. From his early teens Melville was ac­tive in Jewish sports groups, play­ing league ta­ble ten­nis for Mac­cabi First Team com­pet­i­tively un­til around two years ago.

With his pas­sion for prize com­pe­ti­tions, he was prob­a­bly one of the few peo­ple to have won a lux­ury trip on the Ori­ent Ex­press twice in con­sec­u­tive years.

He was a win­ner on na­tional TV shows in­clud­ing Blan­kety Blank, com­péred by Terry Wo­gan, and a no­table con­tender on The Weak­est Link, spar­ring with Anne Robin­son

Close friends de­scribed him as “a true gen­tle­man in ev­ery sense”.

Melville is sur­vived by his wife, San­dra, daugh­ter Kate, son Gideon, son-in-law, Harvey, daugh­ter-in­law, Kirsty, five grand­chil­dren, and brother, Mau­rice. Melville Sum­mer­field

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