Speaker: Christopher Sharples
Date: 17 March 2016
Venue: Guildhall, Gresham Street, City of London, EC2V 7HH
Time: 12.30pm till 2.30pm
Chair: Robert S. Childs, Chairman of The Bermuda Society and Chairman of Hiscox
Christopher Sharples has enjoyed a distinguished career in the City of London – he is a serial entrepreneur having started companies in derivatives, financial services software and real-time financial data; he is active in various non-executive positions; he served as Chairman of the UK Securities and Futures Authority and as a Member of the City Panel on Takeovers and Mergers; he is the serving Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Synopsis of Christopher Sharples’ speech
“The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful.”
Christopher Sharples gave an account of how he first came to be in Bermuda 43 years ago. Both he and his younger brother aged 18 were on the family sailing boat in the middle of the South Atlantic in March 1973 enroute from Rio to Bermuda to join their father who had six months earlier become Governor of the island. They had no radio communication and thus no contact with the outside world and it was only a freak tropical storm that caused them to take refuge at the port of Salvador in the Brazilian state of Bahia. It was thus by chance that they learnt of the assassination that had taken place a few days earlier. Leaving the yacht in the hands of their other friends aboard, they flew to Bermuda arriving just in time for the state funeral.
Meanwhile Lady Sharples had made it clear that she was not in any hurry to leave the island so as to give time for a new governor to be selected. She told the assembled media from around the world that she had nothing against Bermuda at all, just the individuals who had committed this crime. Thus for the next few months the diary engagements were honoured and generally speaking Government house continued to a large extent fulfilling the social functions as before. Christopher took over many of the responsibilities of the ADC, Hugh Sayers, who had been tragically murdered and who was also aged 25.
Eventually, especially when a political bandwagon started to press for Lady Sharples to be appointed as the next governor, the family were asked to leave Government House as the idea of the local population having a say on who should become the next governor was not on the Foreign Office agenda.
Christopher Sharples described how during this period he made many friends and became attached to the island but felt it was better to stay away to let the dust settle. It was about 12 years later that he came back to the island with his wife and three children. He rented a house for several years in Point Shares – eventually purchasing and rebuilding a home that had belonged to the Pearman family, since sold.
Originally proposed by Prime Minister Edward Heath for membership of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1973 (it was Heath who had recommended Sir Richard for the post of Governor), Christopher is now Commodore of this venerable yacht club and very involved as the challenger for the America’s Cup with Sir Ben Ainslie. Thus, quite by chance, Christopher has now even more reason to spend time in Bermuda. He is optimistic that the Government’s financial support for this iconic sporting event, that chimes so well with Bermuda’s maritime heritage, will pay dividends and give the tourist industry a considerable boost.
17 March 2016