Peter Harrison KGCN CBE 29.4.1937 – 18.6.2021.
Peter was brought up in Cheshire. He and his family have lived in Reigate, Surrey, since 1977.
Peter was a sporting enthusiast whose first love was for football. He was a passionate Chelsea supporter and club Vice-President. He was also a fervent and talented yachtsman who sponsored the British America’s Cup challenge in 2003.
He was already over 40 when he was encouraged to venture down to Park Lane where he played his first game of rugby on the wing for the Nondescripts. He celebrated his debut performance with a brace of tries and overnight became not only a rugby aficionado but also an enthusiastic member of Old Reigatians Rugby Football Club.
Having moved to the front row he continued to play for the club until his mid 50’s and took much pleasure in playing in the same successful B1 XV as his son Nick.
In the 1990’s Peter sold his very successful computer networking company and his family set up first the Peter Harrison Foundation and then the Peter Harrison Heritage Foundation. These two organisations have given away well in excess of £50,000,000 to hundreds of different charities, with a particular emphasis on the development of sport for people with disabilities, on education of children from less well-off backgrounds and on the provision of care for children with special needs.
At Park Lane one of Peter’s dreams was to replace the old clubhouse, built by club members in the 1940’s, and to provide the club with a magnificent first class facility for the benefit of the rugby community in Reigate. It took over a decade to obtain the necessary permission for the new build and the financial investment of in excess of £5,000,000 from the Foundation and his personal resources was testament to his generosity.
In 2003 Peter was elected Club President and maintained a healthy interest in all the activities of the club, particularly the fiscal performance of the club that he loved. He took considerable pleasure and pride in watching the exponential development of all sections of the club.
Other rugby charities to benefit from Peter’s philanthropy include Lawrence Dallaglio’s RugbyWorks wheelchair rugby.
Peter and his charitable foundations were also extremely generous to Reigate Grammar School with their financial support of the Harrison Sixth Form Centre and the inestimable and continuing support of the Peter Harrison Scholarship Scheme.
Peter lived his life with reference to the doctrine of the 5 D’s – desire, determination, drive, dedication and discipline. It was a doctrine that served him well.
To that doctrine he might have added another D – “delivery” of a legacy the Old Reigatian Rugby Football Club of a magnificent clubhouse and facilities which are a tribute to his vision and perspicacity.