The son of a farming family who dedicated his life to championing the arts, while leaving his mark on a Norfolk landmark, has died aged 86. 

From bringing in more contemporary artwork to the county and founding the successful Radio Broadland to restoring a 15th century grade I listed building, David Cargill’s legacy will be remembered for generations to come.

David Henderson Cargill was born on April 15, 1936, to Scottish farmer David Cargill senior and Jessie Henderson. He was the older brother to Jean and Alan. 

Eastern Daily Press: David Cargill has died aged 89 - Picture: Bill SmithDavid Cargill has died aged 89 - Picture: Bill Smith (Image: Newsquest)

Educated at Gresham’s School in Holt, he worked on family farms for a year before leaving in 1956 to study at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. 

His family described his farming career as “unenthusiastic to say the least.” 

In 1960 he married Suffolk-born Shirley Williams, who he had met in Norwich, and together they began a long and wholehearted love affair with the arts. 

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In 1971, Mr Cargill took over as chair of the Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society and enabled it to make ambitious purchases with national match-funding from the V&A National Art Collections Fund. This brought more contemporary art to the county than its museums had room to show. 

Four years later, he created and chaired the Eastern Arts Association with the aim of bringing cultural experience to a wider cross-section of the public in East Anglia. 

Eastern Daily Press: Shirley and David Cargill - Picture: Johanna TurnbullShirley and David Cargill - Picture: Johanna Turnbull (Image: Johanna Turnbull)

In 1981, the family hosted the traveling Albion Fair on their farm near Cromer. It was a community event with artists, craftspeople, acrobatics, mimes, and dancers, and left its more conservative neighbours slightly bewildered by the colourful tents, live music, and converted buses.

The following year, he set up a new commercial station, Radio Broadland, with friends, writer Malcolm Bradbury and Viscount Edward Coke, as directors.

During the next 15 years, the business acquired multiple stations across East Anglia and in 1996 it was purchased by GWR Group for £25 million.

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He was also involved with several other projects. He sat on the Arts Council for England and used his position to prioritise the importance of regional arts investment, was a director and board member of Angela Flowers Gallery PLC for nearly 40 years, a founder investor and shareholder of The Groucho Club, chair of Wingfield Arts centre, and at the age of 65 he became the oldest member of Soho House.

He and Shirley shared an ambitious love for art and began a large personal collection with works by artists and sculptors including Duncan Grant, David Hockney, Michael Andrews, William Pye and Tom Philips.

Eastern Daily Press: Elsing Hall - Picture: Bill SmithElsing Hall - Picture: Bill Smith (Image: Newsquest)

And in 1982, the couple with their three children began the transformation of Elsing Hall in Elsing, near Dereham, which at the time was a dilapidated moated manor house.

The medieval house became a place of social and cultural introduction where artists, writers, musicians, financiers, and lifelong local friends and family were entertained with generosity and laughter.

An interest in politics saw support politician David Steel and his planning and creation of the Social Democratic Party.

In 1983, he ran on their behalf for the new seat in Mid Norfolk, where he gained 26pc of the vote against a successful Conservative win. 

And in 1989 he founded a new merchant bank in Norwich, the East Anglian Securities Trust.

Eastern Daily Press: Elsing Hall - Picture: Newsquest LibraryElsing Hall - Picture: Newsquest Library (Image: Newsquest)

During his 70s, he unwillingly retreated from his professional life following the onset of dementia.

During this time he began painting and sculpting, and continued to attend numerous arts and music festivals. He also devoted himself to his grandchildren Lucas, Milo and Finn, and daughters Natasha and Jonquil.

Mr Cargill died on January 19. Details of a memorial service will be announced following a private family funeral. 

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Eastern Daily Press: David Cargill (centre) with Radio Broadland colleagues - Picture: Bill SmithDavid Cargill (centre) with Radio Broadland colleagues - Picture: Bill Smith (Image: Newsquest)