Saturday, 21 March 2009

Altruistic Pioneer And Campaigner Passes Away Aged 72

Tim Eiloart, the altruistic pioneer, has died at the age of 72 following years of ill- health, latterly he was confined to a wheelchair. In his amazing life he was an entrepreneur, a journalist, started a Charity and took part in a record breaking transatlantic ballooning attempt to cross the Atlantic.

He read chemical engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was sent down midway through his degree because he joined a transatlantic balloon trip organised by his father, 'Bushy' Eiloart, the man who invented yeast facepacks. The attempt was in 1958, aboard the Small World, a balloon that had a gondola with a bicycle powered propellers. It is described in a 1959 book The Flight of the Small World. They managed to travel about 1,200 miles in ninety-four hours. Even more fortunately, their gondola was seaworthy and they finished up their journey afloat, reaching Barbados after the ten more days.

Tim returned to Trinity to complete his degree and, as soon as he graduated, founded number of companies, including Cambridge Consultants, with the idea of acting as an intermediary between the university and industry. Cambridge Consultants grew and grew, even Robert Maxwell wanted to invest, but Tim and his fellow consultants didn't want him. Tim met Clive Sinclair through Mensa, Clive needed a base to assemble components and deal with mail order administration, Cambridge Consultants Ltd, run by Eiloart, provided this service. No sooner had the advertising appeared than the company was swamped by demand and the business began to snowball. Over the years they made a lot of money, and spawned many spin- outs which have gone on to make combined billions, but Tim ended up with nothing. He started other businesses, latterly with an emphasis on helping communities in the developing world. He was never much interested in making money for himself.

Since 1970 he has been a free-lance journalist and business correspondent for The New Scientist & Mensa Journal . He was the author of a book 'Happier families: for babies children teenagers and parents' by Tim Eiloart, Mary Eiloart & Penny Eiloart.

He campaigned for the Green Party, and was a candidate several times including the General Election in Huntingdon in against John Major in 1983 and in Council Elections in Huntingdon till 2001. He worked with Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Rotblat and others who campaigned to warn the government about ecological crises.

I met Tim in 1999 when volunteering for Sunseed in Spain, he was a visiting Trustee and impressed everyone with his breadth of interests and energy. He had a stroke working late one night, fortunately I woke up and could call for help. He recruited me into becoming a trustee, he was himself a founding trustee.

In 1984 he and his wife Mary were founder trustees of the Sunseed Trust, which they generously endowed and for which they both worked tirelessly for many years. Whether it was in the conception and development of new ideas in appropriate technology, or the grind of routine administration or accounting tasks, Tim and Mary could always be relied on to put heart and soul into whatever needed to be done..

The low-cost adobe solar oven was one of Tim's inventions.  It led to Sunseed's involvement in Tanzania, where the Sunseed Tanzania Trust continues to promote energy-effective smoke-free cookers and tree nurseries in villages and schools.

One memory of Tim that some of us treasure - after suffering his stroke at Sunseed he was being taken to the ambulance on a trolley-stretcher, and was working out and explaining design improvements which could be made to the trolley to improve its performance on rough ground!

Tragically, Tim's daughter Penny was lost at sea off the coast of Africa in 1998, she was 33.

He suffered a stroke some years ago, and friends have suggested this was brought on by the stress involved in searching for Penny. He is survived by his wife Mary and 2 children.

1 comment:

Teresa Stokes said...

Tim Eiloart was my fourth cousin and I found your article while trying to find out a bit more about him, as we never met. I joined Mensa in 1978 and I must have read some of his articles without knowing that he was a relation!