Kit Maunsell MC (1939-2021)

It is with sadness that we report that Kit Maunsell died on his 82nd birthday on the 6th October. He had lived at Upton Manor, Hight Street for 35 years.

Kit was born in India where his father was on secondment to the Indian Political Service on October 6th 1939. He and his family returned to this country in 1944 whereupon Kit was sent to Cheltenham College. He went on to Sandhurst in 1957 and was posted to the first of his Army postings with the Gurkha Rifles in 1959. In 1960 he was posted to and joined 2/10GR Norwegian Farm Camp, Hong Kong where his rugby talent resulted in him playing at centre for Hong Kong.

Other postings were to follow including three operational tours to Borneo during one of which, when he was Company Commander, Kit was awarded the Military Cross. Kit decided to leave the army in 1968 having risen to the rank of Major (at the time he was the youngest Major in the British Army).

In 1974, after a few years working in the rag trade in Hong Kong, Kit enrolled himself for a two-year course at Cranfield Business School following which he returned to the clothing industry to work for Thomas Marshalls where he quickly rose through the ranks. In 1982 he moved to the catering industry with Letheby and Christopher as managing director and stayed with them in that role until they were taken over in 1997. From that date Kit held a mix of company directorship, including Gieves and Hawkes for ten years and he continued to invest in small publicly quoted and private companies.

It was while he was posted in Hong Kong that Kit first met Caroline whilst she was working her passage around the world. They married in 1970 and raised three lovely daughters Venetia Davidson, Chloe Tindall and Skye Veciana. The family moved from Blewbury to Upton to live in Upton Manor soon after it had been restored and saved from demolition by the previous owners. Caroline and Kit then spent a further few years continuing to renovate and improve the property.

His love of family was his first priority. He was immensely proud of his three daughters and was an active and loving grandfather until the end.

In 2003 he was an enthusiastic member of the committee that was tasked with producing an Upton Parish Plan which when published did so much to improve the social life of the village.

Kit was a huge lover of sports his favourites being Rugby, Golf, Tennis and Cricket. He personally played a lot of rugby, squash and skiing when younger. His interests in later life were reading, opera, bird watching, walking, painting, visiting Art Galleries and playing bridge with his friends and at Blewbury Bridge Club.

Kit was known as a man of strong values and great integrity. Generous, honest, straight speaking and determined. A man who lived by his principles and high expectations. Despite his successful career in both the Army and business, he remained a modest man albeit with a great sense of humour to the last.

Mike Brown