From a Barrow council house to receiving an MBE, obituary to 'extraordinary' businessman Maurice Chapman, 74

The Westmorland Gazette: Extraordinary: Maurice Chapman Extraordinary: Maurice Chapman

THE family of a Cartmel show boss who went from a Barrow council house to receiving an MBE have paid tribute to ‘the extraordinary life of an extraordinary man’.

Maurice Chapman died of a suspected heart attack on June 14, two weeks before his 74th birthday.

Mr Chapman died while shearing sheep at his farm near Cartmel, and daughter Melissa Harrington, 50, said: “He died in his favourite place, doing what he loved, with his loved ones at his side.”

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He leaves sons Ian and Marcus Chapman, daughter Melissa Harrington, grandchildren, Lucia and Alex, brother Ken and partner Jane Barnes.

Mr Chapman was born on Walney Island in 1940 and attended Barrow Grammar School. His horses would race in the school’s navy and gold colours.

He worked in advertising in London before moving to Bermuda in the 1960s, where he captained the national rugby union team.

After returning to Cumbria, Mr Chapman and wife Anthea bought Chappels manor house in the Whicham Valley and developed it into Brockwood Holiday Park.

He sold advertising space in a magazine he created called ‘Preview of Lakeland’, and managed marketing for the Lakeland Sheepskin chain.

After selling the businesses he went on to buy Acrastyle – an electrical engineering company in Ulverston – and spent 24 years there as managing director. 

He was awarded an MBE in 1986 for services to British exports.

Mr Chapman had a passion for nature and animals, and started breeding pedigree Hereford cattle while still at Acrastyle.

He turned to farming full time following his retirement from the company in 1997.

His son Ian, 52, said: “He was a very dynamic person in the many fields he worked in, and never stopped working even when he officially retired.”

Mr Chapman was highly successful as a horse owner, going on to compete in many races at group one level, including the Grand National and Scottish National.

His horses included Sea Storm, and Brown Eyes Blue, who still hold course records, and Cheltenham winner Chief Dan George.

Mr Chapman was a respected member of the farming community and was elected president of Cartmel Show in 2011.

This year he was due to be chairman – a position that will be left open as a mark of respect.
A trophy will also be dedicated in his name for future shows.

Paying tribute to her ‘beloved dad’, Dr Harrington said: “Dad's life is a great example of what can be achieved with imagination, determination and drive.

“He was proud of coming from a council house in Barrow to becoming a successful sportsman, businessman, sailor, racehorse owner and breeder, and being presented with an MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

“He was very popular and well respected in the local community.

“And he was happiest of all with his family, and on his farm looking after his animals.”

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