Aerial view from the church around the Wiltshire village of Bromham in Wiltshire, near to the towns of Calne, Melksham, Devizes and Chippenham

Popular designer dies after cancer battle

By Bromham Webmaster, Jul 13 2017 08:23PM

MARK Wilkinson, a designer and inventor from Bromham, died on Wednesday 5th July aged 66 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Tributes have been paid to an ‘incredible’, ‘passionate’ and ‘generous’ visionary who will likely be best remembered for his furniture design and the creation of the tradition English country kitchen style. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia, and adult children Gregory and Victoria.

Mark, who was awarded an OBE in the 2010 New Year Honours for his services to the furniture industry, founded Mark Wilkinson Furniture 36 years ago and ran the company with his wife, Cynthia until it was bought out in 2005. He returned as creative director in 2009 when the company was taken over by Canburg Ltd.

Mark and Cynthia also formed the Mark Wilkinson Foundation for Innovation and Employment charity to help people with dyslexia, a condition that affected Mark so badly that he could not read or write when he left school.

Cynthia, who was married to Mark for 37 years, said this week: “In his death Mark has left a cavern that cannot be filled. There will never be another Mark Wilkinson. He was a true individualist with an enquiring mind, delicate soul and a wicked sense of humour.

“He was so inventive and there was nothing he couldn’t do. His dyslexia meant he really had to make his own way in the world so he invented and created whatever he needed.

“While Mark was a busy man he was only too happy to help people, and since he died we’ve been inundated with people saying what a difference he made to their lives. He is very well respected and would be very proud of the legacy he’s left – I know I am.”

Mark’s friend of 30 years, Graham Morrison said: “Mark was really an artist and wood was one of his main mediums. Out of that came beautiful, beautiful furniture and other objects for the home. This was a guy who was told by his school teachers to go and stand in a bin because ‘that’s where you belong’.”

Ingrid Sidmouth, headteacher of local special needs school, Rowdeford added: “Mark has been a very enthusiastic and generous supporter of the school over many years and whenever he visited Rowdeford he was always so deeply interested in the children, the staff and our work.

“He will be a very great loss to Rowdeford Charity Trust and the school. We send our love and best wishes to Cynthia and their family at this very difficult time.”

When quoted in a group of famous dyslexics with Erin Brokovich, Mark said: “Dyslexia brings more gifts than glitches. If you have it, flaunt it. When you stumble hold out a hand. Help will come. When you achieve, stand proud and then lend a hand with humility.”

Mark’s funeral will be held at 1.30pm on Wednesday 19th July at St Nicholas Church, Bromham.

Gazette and Herald - 12 July 2017

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View from the tower of SAt Nicholas Church, Bromham, Wiltshire