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Sunday, May 05, 2019

Thomas Edward Brodie Sopwith 1932-2019

Thomas Edward Brodie "Tommy" Sopwith, who died at Basingstoke, 4 May, 2019, aged 86, was the son of aviation pioneer Sir Thomas Sopwith (1888-1989) (the creator of Hawker Siddeley).

He was born 15 November, 1932, son of Sir Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, CBE, by his second wife the former Phyllis Brodie, and was educated at Stowe. His father's first wife had been Beatrice Hore-Ruthven, a daughter of Lord Ruthven of Gowrie.

Tommy was the classic 1960s eligible bachelor: guards officer, offshore power boat and saloon car champion. He founded a Brighton based car distributorship named after his father’s America’s Cup J-Class yacht “Endeavour”. This was also the name used for his helicopter owning company: Endeavour Aviation.
In the 1980’s he was a partner in European Helicopters of Denham that was co-founded with ex McAlpine Heli’s MD Robin Keith, and Lynton Group.
The company was formed to carry out corporate helicopter rebuilding, maintenance, sales and consultancy but there was some controversy when it sought to win the Aerospatiale helicopter distributorship away from McAlpine Helicopters Ltd. McAlpine sued and won damages and an injunction preventing European Helicopters from approaching Aerospatiale. In August 1990 Lynton Group acquired remaining 60% of EHL's equity from the other partners. European was later absorbed into Premiair along with McAlpine’s businesses not associated with the Eurocopter sales business.
His first wife was killed in the crash of Bell 47G G-BBVP on 20 March, 1975 . His second marriage was to former Olympic skier Gina Hawthorn. He leaves two children, Sam and Bean.

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