It is with great sadness that we record the death of Nick Tarsh, who for a number of years championed and supported the work of Forward Thinking. Nick was a good friend, who took a real personal interest in what we were trying to achieve in the Middle East. We offer our sincere condolences to his wife Helen, his family, and fellow trustees of the Philip King Charitable Trust. The following is an extract from an obituary written by his son David:
“Nick Tarsh was a true hero; a man who lived his life to the full and made a positive contribution to the lives of everyone he met… and many, many more who he didn’t meet. Many people will have known him in one walk of life, conscious of his remarkable contribution, without knowing he was just as wonderful in another.
Nick’s entrepreneurialism and leadership were just as effective in the not-for-profit sector; and ever since seeing the documentary “Cathy Come Home” Nick was hooked on helping the homeless. An early hit was the establishment of the Donkey Derby, an annual fair and donkey racing event in Richmond in aid of the homeless charity Shelter. Encouraged, as he was on so many endeavours, by Helen, he took an interest in Relate, initially assuming the role of Treasurer for the Richmond & Hounslow branch. He rose from there to become the Vice Chair of the national organisation in 2000 and then Chair in 2006, a position he held until 2012. He also became the Chair/President of several other charitable institutions, including Clifton College, JIA travel section, London Rotary Club, Philip King Charitable Trust, Polack’s House Educational Trust, Richmond Parish Lands, Richmond Shelter Group, SPEAR (Single Persons Emergency Accommodation Richmond), Sustain for Life and the Tel Aviv University Trust. In addition, he was Vice Chair of the Richmond Council for Voluntary Services and a Director/Trustee of the Clare King Charitable Trust, National Trust Enterprises and Plan International.
Whilst his broad-ranging charitable endeavours were recognised with an OBE in 2006, his contribution ran much deeper than the titles. He engaged thoughtfully, constructively and empathetically in discussions about strategy, fund-raising and personnel; and he would often spend hours poring over the accounts of the numerous organisations he was helping, ensuring the numbers added up correctly. He and Helen frequently rearranged their home to host fund-raising events and other gatherings. He took great interest in the selection of senior people running the organisations. He was particularly proud of his role in the appointment of a new CEO for Relate and the Headmaster of Clifton College, individuals who fully justified the faith he put in them.
Despite all his substantial achievements, he was modest. He preferred to give credit than to take it. He listened before he spoke; and he was always interested in people and the situations in which they found themselves. If you were to ask him about what was most important to him, everything already mentioned would have come second to his top priority – his family. When he met Helen at a party, it was love at first sight. He didn’t rest until he had convinced her to drop all her other suitors in favour of him. His highly successful chat up line was: “let me help you with your law exams”. He married Helen in 1959 and soon after she was the youngest woman to be called to the bar. Nick and Helen had four children, David who married Deborah, Benj, Jeremy who married Soph and Anna who married Simon. They produced eight grandchildren, Jack, Lara, Harry, Noah, Zack, Sacha, Ethan and Kezia. He and Helen took enormous pride and interest in all of them and also in their large extended families, encouraging and mentoring many in the face of demanding challenges and supporting a few in the face of significant adversity. Moments of his greatest family pride included David graduating from INSEAD, Jeremy succeeding as an entrepreneur, Anna performing on stage and in the media and Benj overcoming considerable obstacles to qualify as a doctor. Years later, Benj helped save his father’s life on more than one occasion by providing inspired medical advice.
Nick took his last breath at 5.30 pm on 10th May 2021 after battling with metastatic prostate cancer for the best part of two decades. He outlasted every prognosis, no doubt owing to his devotion to Helen and his profoundly positive attitude to the future. His legacy and his devotion to family will live on through the lives of his adoring wife, children and grandchildren.”