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Obituary: Bernard Lyons

We are very sorry to have to let colleagues know that Dr Bernard Lyons, CBE, businessman, financier and philanthropist, and honorary graduate of the University, died on 14 April 2008. Educated at Leeds Grammar School, Dr Lyons and his brother, Jack, very successfully expanded the business established by their father, the Alexandre chain of men's clothing stores. This merged with United Drapery Stores in 1954, UDS Group subsequently going on to become the UK's top retailer, with 1300 shops, including Alexandre Stores, John Collier, Richard Shops and Allders. Dr Lyons was Chairman of the Group from 1972 to 1982. In addition to his prominent business career, Dr Lyons had a distinguished record of public service, for which he was awarded the CBE in 1964. He served for twelve years as President of the Jewish Representative Council in Leeds, subsequently becoming honorary Life President; as Chairman of the Yorkshire and North East Conciliation Committee of the Race Relations Board (in which office he was succeeded by the University's then Vice-Chancellor, Lord Boyle); as a JP; as a member of the City Council; and as Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding. Dr Lyons was also a philanthropist on a considerable scale and the University was one of the main beneficiaries of his generosity. Among other benefactions, he provided funds for a very substantial expansion of the Law Library; for a lectureship in community and race relations; and for a research award in bibliography and textual criticism (this last a reflection of his own love of rare books). Dr Lyons was a member of the University Council and Court from 1964 to 1965 and, in 1973, the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, was conferred upon him. The funeral took place on Tuesday.

Published: 18 April 2008