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Bloxham School is Sad to Announce the Death of Distinguished OB

RIP Ward Thomas CBEBloxham School is sad to announce the death of one of its most distinguished Old Boys. Gwyn Ward Thomas C.B.E. (Wn 1936-39), who enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in commercial television, died on 4th February at the age of 95.

In the course of a long and eventful life, he flew 36 bombing missions as the pilot of a Lancaster Bomber, winning the DFC and Croix de Guerre, before becoming a pilot for Swissair and then a racing driver, winning the Prix de la Province de Namur in Belgium in 1952. 

It was, however, as a television executive that he made his name, first as chief executive of Grampian Television (1961-67) and then as chairman of Yorkshire Television (1967-76), where he was responsible for programmes such as Emmerdale, Rising Damp and Whicker’s World. He commissioned Europe’s first colour broadcasting studios in Leeds, merged Yorkshire TV with Tyne Tees to become Trident Television (1976-1984) and diversified into ownership of safari parks and casinos. After the company had posted record profits of £10.3 million (about £34 million today), he retired to the south of France in 1984 to enjoy his motorboats, only to return nine years later to come to the rescue of what had become Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television after it ran into financial difficulties. In June 1997, he oversaw a £711 million takeover from Granada and retired once more, this time to enjoy skiing in Davos and his wildlife photography.

Our condolences go to his widow Janice and to his children, Christina and Guy.