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Obituary: Paul Nicholas – New Forest businessman and generous benefactor

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NEW Forest businessman Paul Nicholas, who gave generously to help young people with learning and physical disabilities, has died at the age of 84.

Paul lived in Dock Lane in Beaulieu, and was a director of Pan Air Ltd and friend of the late Lord Edward Montagu.

He was known for his generous donations, including when he gave £10,000 in 2018 for 11-year-old Evie Lambert, from Huddersfield, to have a Hero Arm – a lightweight 3D-printed prosthetic limb inspired by bionic superheroes.

Evie Lambert (centre) and her family met Paul Nicholas (right) at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu
Evie Lambert (centre) and her family met Paul Nicholas (right) at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu

She and her family were invited to the National Motor Museum by Paul, where he met Evie in August 2019.

Other charities he was involved in included the Southampton-based Rose Road Association, which provides respite breaks and community outreach for children and young adults with severe physical disabilities and learning difficulties.

Paul lent his support after learning some of the organisation’s vehicles had been vandalised one Christmas.

He subsequently visited the charity’s Bradbury Centre, where the children – some of whom are from the New Forest – stay to build friendships and try out new activities. In November 2018 he donated £100,000 to the group.

The money, which was desperately needed at the time, paid for nursing support for those with more complex needs.

Paul said then: “I would urge anyone that is able to help, to get involved and support Rose Road. It’s an incredibly rewarding charity to be part of.”

Being a great friend of the late Lord Montagu for more than half a century, Paul also commissioned a statue of the motor museum founder which was installed outside the attraction to mark the first anniversary of his death.

The present Lord Montagu paid tribute to his father’s friend, saying: “I knew Paul Nicholas quite well. He was a member of the Beaulieu community for many years and was a generous supporter of children’s charities in the area.

“He also commissioned the statue of my father which now stands outside the National Motor Museum.

“This was entirely Paul’s initiative, for which my family was most grateful.

“The maquette for the sculpture was completed in my father’s life time, and so he was able to approve it.

“Sadly, the final full-sized statue, created by John Cox, was not cast until after my father’s death in August 2015, but Paul’s part in the commission was fully recognised at the unveiling ceremony.”

The 6ft bronze figure was unveiled by television presenter and musician Jools Holland ahead of the Autojumble celebrations.

It was designed by Suffolk artist John Cox, who also died before he could complete the eye-catching tribute.

Mr Cox’s widow Joy and his daughter, Jayne Meadows, who are both part of the family sculpture business, Escar UK Bronze, finished the project together.

Paul said then: “[Lord Montagu] was a great guy and I thought he deserved it in recognition of his work for Beaulieu and with what he achieved with the National Motor Museum.”

Paul died peacefully at his home in Beaulieu last month, and a celebration of his life took place on 13th June.

Any donations in his memory will benefit the Salvation Army.

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