Victor Watson: Farewell to Leeds’ own Monopoly legend

Hundreds attended the memorial at Leeds Minster.
Hundreds attended the memorial at Leeds Minster.
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VICTOR WATSON had many competitors in business, but no enemies.

Friends and family congregated at Leeds Minster yesterday to celebrate his life in a memorial service that was at times both moving and amusing.

The late chairman of Waddingtons, the manufacturer of Monopoly, was widely admired in the Yorkshire business community for his sense of decency and fair play.

He was also a devoted family man with a playful side and keen sense of humour.

John Watson, the former Conservative MP, told the gathering how his older brother defeated hostile takeover attempts by Robert Maxwell, the corrupt tycoon.

“The bid battle was fought out in the headlines of the newspapers as well as the institutional boardrooms of the City,” he said.

“This was largely because Victor successfully sought to match Robert Maxwell’s acknowledged gift for the newsworthy turn of phrase.

“Asked whether he had ever met Maxwell, Victor said ‘Yes, I met him once. I suppose my luck had to run out sooner or later’.

“It would be very wrong to see that battle now simply in light of its entertainment value.

“Over the subsequent 30 years, around 3,000 people have reached retirement age with their Waddingtons pensions intact and that would not have happened if Robert Maxwell had been able to plunder their pension scheme as he did with so many others.”