When the government finally bowed to public pressure harnessed by Joanna Lumley to allow ex-Gurkha soldiers to reside in Britain, no one was more pleased than Wolves life president Sir Jack Hayward.
Sir Jack has taken a close interest in the campaign throughout, and donated £20,000 to the Gurkha Justice Fund. He said at the time, “I flew them into war in Burma in 1944. I know from first-hand their loyalty, their gallantry and their unswerving devotion to the British Army. We owe them a debt that we can never fully repay.”
That was the good news. The bad news was that interest in a takeover of the Grand Bahama Port Authority waned. A takeover would have meant a considerable boost to the fortunes of 86-year-old Sir Jack – the authority’s co-owner.
Sir Jack is a 75 per cent owner of GBPA – although that figure is the subject of a long running legal battle between Barbados-loving Sir Jack and the family of his former co-owner and business partner, the late Edward St George, who dispute the amount each of them owned.
Merchant banker Roddie Fleming expressed an interest in buying the Port Authority – which founded the city of Freeport – but withdrew.
The legal costs of all this are unlikely to make a significant dent in Sir Jack’s fortune, which includes homes in London and New York and an estate in the Highlands, as well as his Bahamas mansion which he shares with his American wife Frances and a dozen or so rescue dogs.
Sir Jack first arrived in Grand Bahama in 1956. He took over his father’s interests and took a major interest in the development of Freeport. The Sir Jack Hayward High School, which opened in 1998, is named after him and his wife organises an annual exchange with pupils from Boys Harbour School in New York.
Although he lives in the Bahamas he enthusiastically follows his other passion in life – Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sir Jack ended his 17 years ownership of the club when he sold control to businessman Steve Morgan for a nominal fee on condition that £30 million was invested in the club. He bought Wolves in 1991 for £2.1 million. It is estimated he put around £50 million of his personal fortune into developing the Molinuex ground.
Jack Hayward was born in Wolverhampton in 1923, the only child of Sir Charles and Hilda Hayward, a leading industrialist. Sir Jack served in the RAF during the war, training as a pilot and flying missions over India and Burma.
Knighted in 1986, Sir Jack has always been fiercely patriotic and is often known as “Union Jack” Hayward.
He now plays a major part in Freeport life, where he is honorary chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Patron of the Humane Society of Grand Bahama and an honorary member of Freeport Rotary Club, The Bahamas National Trust and Freeport Rugby Club.