Noel Lister

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Noel Lister (26 December 1927 – 29 January 2015) was the founder of MFI Group which became one of the United Kingdom's largest retail chains, and also the founder of UKSA (formerly the UK Sailing Academy), a youth education and maritime training charity based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.


Noel Lister initially went into business trading in war surplus goods which he purchased at auction.[1]

He co-founded MFI Group in 1964 and, through effective marketing, expanded it into one of the largest retail chains in the United Kingdom.[2] He sold the last 8% that he still held in the business to Asda in 1985 for £60m.[2]

He was a keen sailor - he was a contender for the Admiral's Cup in Imp - and in 1987 secured the future of the UK Sailing Academy at Cowes by acquiring it from the Sports Council and transferring it, and a donation of £4 million, into a Trust Fund.[3][4] At the time he owned the yacht, Whirlwind IX,[5] and his vision was to provide maritime training for good quality people so that they could work on large yachts.[6]

He twice circumnavigated the world and has been on numerous overland expeditions.[2]

In 2002 he suffered a stroke and was in hospital for three months.[2]

In later life Lister lived in the Bahamas.[2] He died on 29 January 2015.[7]


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