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News > Lyonian News > 60 years on - Spotlight on Mike Eathorne-Gibbons OL 1964

60 years on - Spotlight on Mike Eathorne-Gibbons OL 1964

Mike Eathorne-Gibbons shares snippets of his journey 60 years on from leaving John Lyon School.
Photo of Mike, School monitors (Prefects) and the then Head Master Mr Ron F Boyd Campbell.
Photo of Mike, School monitors (Prefects) and the then Head Master Mr Ron F Boyd Campbell.

I left school some sixty years ago and, having headed westward from London, I’ve been living in Cornwall for close to thirty years. My current and first marriages add up to more than fifty years of married life, which have given me a large family of children and grandchildren. In a business career covering well over forty years, I’ve worked in large global enterprises as well as small ones in Cornwall and France and for thirty years I’ve also been active in politics with senior responsibilities for councils and constituency associations in Berkshire, Cornwall and, latterly, the South West Region. 

I lived in Stanmore as a boy and attended John Lyon School from 1957 to 1964. In that time, I was Head Boy, RSM School Cadet Force, Captain of Athletics, member of the Cricket 1st X1 and member of the Football 1st XI, and achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold Medal (with personal presentation at Buckingham Palace) – all of which provided an excellent foundation for what was to come.

After university and sometime gaining overseas business experience, I married my first wife in London in 1970 and once I’d qualified as an accountant, we moved from Northwood to Wiltshire and then to Berkshire, where we brought up our two children before separating and divorcing after 25 years. In 1996, I re-married and my new wife and I combined names to become Mr and Mrs Eathorne-Gibbons as we settled into our first home on the outskirts of Truro in Cornwall. We’re now in a different house right in the heart of Truro – a large, double-fronted, 200+ year-old, Grade 2 listed property that we’ve completely remodelled. The four children we’ve brought up here have gone on to forge an impressive variety of professional careers – in Investment, Education, Finance and HR – and, they along with all ten grandchildren, live in Cornwall, Worcestershire, Berkshire and London. It’s probably not surprising that another of my abiding interests is our family history in England, the Isle of Skye and Donegal. 

For nearly twenty-five years, from the early '70s to the mid '90s, my early career was at corporate level with multi-billion-pound global companies. Initially I worked in Wiltshire but for most of that time I was based in the City of London, travelling widely across all continents, except South America. A series of increasingly responsible positions culminated as Finance Director on the 4-man board of an international property company involved in all aspects of development, investment, and management with a value of several billion pounds and a geographical spread covering England, Europe, and Australia.

In the mid-90s, I decided to put all that property and finance experience to a new use in a new career move: with my wife's support, I set up and ran my own accommodation and leisure business. This involved renovating, converting, and extending various buildings and facilities into a guesthouse in Cornwall and holiday cottages in France. The project was a great success and, nearly twenty years after start-up, I sold both elements in 2015 to free up time for my many other businesses and, increasingly political commitments.

During the '80s and '90s I was a Berkshire District Councillor (for Greenham Common, of ‘Women’s Peace Camp’ fame). Here, I held many responsibilities, latterly as Leader, and was also a Parish Councillor and Chairman of a Constituency Association. In 2009 I was elected a Councillor of the newly established Cornwall Council after the integration of the county council with the six former district councils. After chairing various committees, I became a member of the council's Cabinet with responsibilities including direct oversight of the council's £3bn+ property and other investments, and its two stand-alone multi-million-pound property development and property management trading companies as well as corporate and 'back office' activities. I stood down from Cabinet and Council in 2021 and until the end of last year I was Chairman of a Parish Council covering four distinct places bordering Truro (these days, I’m just a 'backbencher'! I am still a Chairman though – currently of the Area Body overseeing all six Cornwall constituency associations, and I’ve recently taken on more responsibilities for the South West Region’s six Area Bodies with national links.

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