Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, businessman who took the family’s supermarket empire to new heights – obituary

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Under the watchful command of John Sainsbury, the company has maintained its reputation for both quality and innovation: even the Sunday opening, initially resisted, was adopted in 1991. On its 65th birthday in 1992 , Sainsbury passed the presidency to his cousin David.

Lord Sainsbury was also, on several occasions, Director of The Economist, Trustee of the National Gallery, Tate Gallery and Westminster Abbey, and Governor of the Royal Ballet School. He was President of the European Movement and a member of the National Committee for Electoral Reform.

John Sainsbury was knighted in 1980 and created a life peer, as Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, in 1989. In 1992 he was made a Knight of the Garter, becoming the longest serving non-royal member of order.

After his marriage to Anya Linden, Sainsbury commissioned a family home on Romney Marsh in Kent, designed by Sir Hugh Casson. He later acquired a Palladian mansion with extensive estates at Preston Candover, Hampshire, from entrepreneur Peter Cadbury. The flamboyant Cadbury was said to have removed trees near the house so the public could see how tall it was; Sainsbury’s replanted them, and more, to make it look smaller.

Lord and Lady Sainsbury had one daughter and two sons.

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, born November 2, 1927, died January 14, 2022

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