Philanthropist’s contribution recognised as part of Lancaster University's flagship Health Innovation Campus development

The charitable legacy of one of Barrow’s most decorated sons has been recognised with a major new road named in his honour.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 6th August 2021, 3:30 pm
Trustees from the foundation with members of the Lancaster University community at Sir John Fisher Drive. From left are trustee Michael Shields, Vice-Chancellor Prof Andy Schofield, trustee David Hart Jackson, trustee Diane Meacock and Dean of Health and Medicine Prof Jo Rycroft-Malone
Trustees from the foundation with members of the Lancaster University community at Sir John Fisher Drive. From left are trustee Michael Shields, Vice-Chancellor Prof Andy Schofield, trustee David Hart Jackson, trustee Diane Meacock and Dean of Health and Medicine Prof Jo Rycroft-Malone

Sir John Fisher Drive has been developed as the access road from the A6 to Lancaster University’s new Health Innovation Campus and has been named to recognise the Cumbrian shipping magnate, who was knighted for his role in the Dunkirk and Normandy operations during the Second World War.

In civilian life, Sir John was the Chairman of James Fisher & Sons plc, the Barrow-in-Furness shipping company founded by his grandfather in 1847 – and now one of the world’s oldest maritime organisations.

Before his death, Sir John and his wife, Lady Maria Fisher, set up the Sir John Fisher Foundation, to fund charitable and community projects, particularly around Barrow-in-Furness and the Furness Peninsula.

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Throughout their lives, the couple took a deep interest in many social and charitable organisations, giving personal support as well as financial aid. Sir John gave a substantial proportion of his shares in James Fisher and Sons plc to the foundation, so it could continue that tradition after his death.

David Dawson, Executive Officer from the Sir John Fisher Foundation, said: “The trustees, staff and everyone associated with our foundation feel very proud of the legacy left by Sir John and Lady Maria. This recognition is a fitting tribute to a great local leader.”

Lancaster University Vice-Chancellor Prof Andy Schofield added: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to honour Sir John’s legacy at the Health Innovation Campus, which will play a key role in our ambitions towards helping to enhance innovation and improve people’s health across the North West.

“Although Lancaster University is a global university, our home is here in the North West of England and we chose to recognise a major philanthropist in our region when naming the road.

“Although Sir John and his wife Lady Maria started the foundation shortly before his death, and therefore did not live to see its impact, it has played a very significant role in the region in the years since his passing and in naming this road after him we honour his vision and generosity.

“Sir John’s legacy has had a tremendous impact on the health of the region. Lancaster has benefited from support for its medical research, with donations of more than £900k. The foundation has also provided significant support to St Mary’s and St John’s Hospices.

“It serves as a bulwark of support to that vital network of community organisations, and local branches of national disease charities, which add so much to the lives of those struggling with issues around health - and their families. It also supports organisations which strive to improve the health of the community and head off problems for future generations.”

During recent months, the road has already been used by tens of thousands of people attending the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic which is currently operating at the Health Innovation Campus.