Last modified on Wed 2 Jun 2021 12.35 EDT
My father, Nick Tarsh, who has died aged 86, developed the travel companies Trafalgar Travel and Insight International Tours, which are still operating and have taken millions of people on holiday. He also chaired, and fundraised for, a wide range of charities.
Born in Liverpool to Jack Tarsh and Edith Cohen, both barristers, he was the first Jewish head boy of Clifton college, Bristol. He represented Liverpool, Lancashire and England as a schoolboy rugby player and received an England trial as a schoolboy golfer.
After gaining a state scholarship in maths, he studied law at Clare College, Cambridge. He represented the university in the Varsity match, and graduated with a first. Playing at Twickenham was his proudest moment, but he felt that marrying Helen Lucas – in 1959, after they met at a party – was his greatest achievement.
In 1957 he qualified as a barrister, coming fourth in the bar finals. However, he did not practise and he took a job as manager of a Courts furniture store in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. Backed by an uncle, he bought a share in the Overseas Visitors Club, based in Earl’s Court, London, which he ran from 1958 to 1968, creating “the destination” for young people visiting the UK from Commonwealth countries.
Then he acquired Trafalgar Travel, which took people on escorted coach tours around Europe. He sold out to an entrepreneur, who kept him on to run it, which he did successfully until 1977. The following year, supported financially by Black & Edgington and its chair Robin Duthie, he founded Insight International Tours.
In 1983, Insight won a Queen’s award for export achievement and acquired the tour company Evan Evans. Seven years later, Nick became the founding chairman of the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA), which lobbied for the industry at EU level. In 1994, he sold Insight and then dedicated his life to charity.
He became treasurer of Richmond & Hounslow Relate in 1984, vice-chair of the national organisation in 2000 and chair from 2006 to 2012. He was also chair/president of several other charitable institutions, including London Rotary Club, Philip King Charitable Trust, Richmond Shelter Group, the homeless charity SPEAR, Sustain for Life and Tel Aviv University Trust. He was vice-chair of Richmond Council for Voluntary Services and a director/trustee of the Clare King Charitable Trust, National Trust Enterprises and Plan International. In 2006 he was appointed OBE.
Nick is survived by Helen and their four children, David, Benj, Jeremy, and Anna, and eight grandchildren, Jack, Lara, Harry, Noah, Zack, Sacha, Ethan and Kezia.
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