St Albans entrepreneur dies

A WELL-known entrepreneur from St Albans has passed away at the age of 71.

David Newling Ward was the owner of St Michael’s Manor in Fishpool Street and during his lifetime he bought, renovated and sold more than 30 hotels, restaurants and pubs.

Born in 1940 to Gladys and Michael, David spent his childhood at the family’s home in Marshal’s Drive.

He boarded at Cranleigh School in Surrey and at the age of 16 he left to study hotel management at Westminster College. During his training he worked at a variety of hotels including the Plaza Athenee in Paris and the Palace in St Moritz.

It was while he was working as an assistant manager in Morocco that David’s father persuaded him to return to St Albans and set up St Michael’s Manor as a family business.


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This venture proved a huge success and enabled him to move forward and convert the Black Lion and Sopwell House, as well as several other premises, within a couple of years.

The Arab-Israeli conflict then caused his small empire to collapse but he was undeterred and moved to Henley with his young family to start again.

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He went on to buy and sell several hotels and pubs and also develop two golf courses.

Following the death of his parents in 1995, David and his sister re-inherited St Michael’s Manor which is still run by the family today and has recently undergone a huge refurbishment.

From the age of 40, David suffered a series of health problems yet continued to develop his business portfolio. But following a recent setback, he died peacefully at his home last month, with his wife Shelia by his side.

He had three children, Philippa, Nicola and Richard, and four grandchildren.

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