Sir George Martin was a prominent Leeds businessman who became Lord Mayor of Leeds, High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, Chairman of Leeds City Magistrates, Chairman of the Leeds Area Health Authority and Chairman of the Governors of Woodhouse Grove School. He was given the Freedom of the City of Leeds in 1966. He formed the Trust in 1956, endowing it with shares. The initial trustees were Frank Marshall, his brother-in-law and business partner, who was himself a High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, and Gordon Hunter who was his accountant. In the early years the Trust supported charities in Leeds and national charitable work focussed on older people.


Sir George Martin died in 1976 leaving the residue of his estate which included farms, properties and the rest of his shares to the Trust. Thereafter the assets of the trust have been invested on the stock market. David Coates, a solicitor who was Sir George’s principal executor became a trustee on his death. Robert Martin, a Bradford surgeon who was Sir George’s nephew became a trustee and later Chairman of the trustees until he was succeeded by Gordon Hunter. Peter Marshall, a son of Frank Marshall, also became a trustee at that time.

1980s – 2000s

Roger Marshall, another son of Frank Marshall, and Martin Bethel, a great nephew of Sir George, became trustees in the early 1980s. Following the death of Gordon Hunter in 1985, David Coates became Chairman of the trustees and Paul Taylor MBE, a prominent Leeds accountant, became a trustee. From that time until his death in 2012, Peter Marshall was the administrator of the Trust. In addition to his extensive work for the Trust, Peter helped to raise millions of pounds for projects including Bolton Abbey Priory, Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire Arboretum and the Cancer Centre at St James’s Hospital in Leeds. He set up the Northern Initiative to encourage wealthy people in the north of England to endow charitable trusts and later extended its activities nationally. In recognition of his huge services to charity, Peter was awarded the OBE. In the late 1990s Janet Martin, the daughter of Robert Martin and great niece of Sir George, became a trustee.

2010s & 2020s

Peter Marshall sadly passed away in 2012 and the Trust’s long serving Chair, David Coates in 2021. Peter’s daughter-in-law, Carla Marshall was appointed Trust Manager in 2013. Morven Whyte, a Leeds-based investment manager joined the board soon after, followed by Sarah Blenkinsop, Martin Bethel’s daughter, who runs her own marketing and PR agency in Ripon and Andrew Wriglesworth, a partner at Wrigleys Solicitors. Four new trustees – Liam Jagger, Jason Kirk, Ailsa Rhodes MBE and Haqueq Siddique – who all work for Leeds and Bradford charities joined the Trust in 2022/23, bringing valuable frontline community knowledge and experience to the trustee board.

Sir George Martin

Sir George Martin presented with the Honorary Freedom of the city of Leeds, 1966

Peter Marshall OBE

Carla Marshall