The former owner of Toddington Manor, Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw, who was one of the leading figures in the fork lift truck industry, has died .
Sir Neville and Lady Georgina Bowman-Shaw, bought the manor in 1979. At that time the house had only been partly lived in for 30 years and the garden was likened to “a jungle”.
When the house was habitable, they then started repairing the farmhouses and buildings.
In 1994, the main part of the farm was sold off, leaving Toddington Manor, which is listed Grade II, surrounded by 178 rolling acres of farmland, pasture and woodland, including a private cricket pitch, four ponds, a lake and its famous gardens.
Sir Neville, who died peacefully at home on July 11, aged 84, was a keen sportsman, and, for more than 30 years, Toddington Manor had a noted pheasant and partridge shoot, with additional shooting rights over 800 neighbouring acres of land.
Sir Neville and his brother Trevor started Lancer Boss in 1950s – the biggest company in Leighton Buzzard for years, with some 2,000 being employed at one point.
A former High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Sir Neville was recommended by then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, for a knighthood in 1984 for exporting 85% of Lancer Boss’s output.
Lancer Boss went into receivership in 1994 because of difficulties at its German affiliate Steinbock Boss.
Subsequently Lancer Boss was acquired by Jungheinrich who closed the Leighton factory in 2003.
In 1997, Sir Neville founded Samuk, from where he retired in 2012 after a career spanning more than 60 years in the fork lift truck industry, and moved to Fritwell, Oxfordshire.
> A Service of Thanksgiving for Sir Neville was held at St Olav’s Church in Fritwell on July 22.