After a long illness, founder and chairman of the Bath Stone Group Brian Marson has died. He was 53.
Brian moved from the Midlands to the Bath area in the 1970s and helped with the restoration of Kennet & Avon Canal. It was this project that fostered his life-long interest in waterways and boats and led to his attraction to Bath Stone.
Initially he was working for another producer of Bath Stone, but a sense that he could do better led him to the London Business School and the obtaining of planning permission to re-open disused mines under the hills of Bath at Limpley Stoke.
From this small beginning Brian formed the Bath Stone Group, mining Stoke Ground Bath Stone, which has been used for the restoration and construction of the finest buildings throughout Bath, the UK and America, and ultimately employing 90 people.
In 1994 Brian delivered his Bath Stone to Windsor Castle for its post-fire restoration in his own canal boat, creating much interest and attention for Bath, which had become his adopted home and of which he was so proud.
In extending his gratitude to Bath he became the main sponsor for the BANES Bath Design Awards, being proud to be associated with quality and innovation and happy to put something back.
Brian was a passionate sailor and was vice-chairman of the Bath Cruising Club and only 18 months ago sailed his yacht, Going Concern, across the Atlantic to the Carribean island of St Lucia with his wife, Elaine, and two crew members.
He was also an accomplished aeroplane pilot and likeed nothing better than to be off and away above the clouds in his own world where he could relax, although he also shared these skills with many of his friends and to help good causes.
A service, \'Celebration of Brian\'s life\', was being held at Haycombe Cemetery Chapel, Bath, on Friday 24 August. It is a reflection of Brian bright views on life that he requested no black and no flowers. He asked instead that donations should be made via Dolmans Funeral Directors, Bath, to Bath Cancer Research Centre and Dorothy House Hospice, Bath.
Brian is survived by his wife, Elaine, and step son Jeremy.
Those in the stone trade who dealt with Brian found him firm but fair and appreciated his love and deep knowledge of mining the stone his company produced.
Tributes paid to him have included an appreciation from Martin Robins, managing director of Farmington Stone, whose initial contact with Bath Stone Group had been confrontational, making news when Farmington claimed their stone from the Cotswolds was the same as Bath Stone. After that, the relationship between the two companies mellowed and they had worked together, Bath Stone Group supplying the dressings and Farmington the building stone.
Martin Robins said: Brian\'s passing leaves a void in the industry that will be exceedingly difficult to fill. He was a character in an age when conformity is the norm. It was a pleasure to know him and deal with him. His fortitude during his illness was exemplary and his spirit of optimism shone through for all to see. We will not see his like again.
He had also been helping Albion Stone Quarries to start mining Portland limestone. Michael Poultney, managing director of Albion, said: He was one of the real genuine characters in the industry. He was happy to give up that precious commodity, time. He went all the way to Italy with us just to talk about mining with no obvious benefit to himself. From start to finish he was happy to give us the benefit of his advice at no cost and with no strings attached.
I think the industry\'s going to be a bit quiet without him.