The trustees and staff at youth charity UKSA have been saddened to hear of the passing of our founder, Noel Lister. UKSA only exists thanks to the inspiration and generosity of Noel and his wife Sylvia.

With a huge dose of entrepreneurial spirit, Noel made his name by creating MFI, which at the time was the UK’s largest and most innovative furniture retailing group. He was a keen sailor and became well-known within the yachting world for his succession of Whirlwind yachts, which cruised extensively and competed at the highest levels.

After the sale of the MFI furniture group, Noel and Sylvia explored the world in their 105ft custom sloop Whirlwind XII, and this 200,000 mile, 10-year double circumnavigation took them to some of the remotest places on the planet.

Noel always had the desire to give something back to society, and he did this by committing £4 million to the establishment of UKSA in Cowes in 1987. The aim was, and remains today, to introduce as many young people as possible to the inspiration and challenge of sailing.

Since its inception, Noel and his family remained very involved with UKSA, helping to make sure it remains true to Noel’s original ethos. The charity got the Royal seal of approval in 1992 when HRH The Princess Royal became Patron. Noel was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Superyacht Awards in 2010.​

Our thoughts are with his wife Sylvia and the rest of the family at this difficult time.

Read Noel’s story here.