Sir Martin Wood, who launched the world’s first scanning technology and founded the environmental group the Earth Trust based at Little Wittenham, has died. He was ninety-four.
A visionary engineer, Sir Martin started Oxford Instruments with his wife Audrey, developing and marketing the world’s first superconducting magnets. These were soon in great demand for scientific equipment, notably in the development of MRI scanning technology.
As the business flourished, ultimately floating on the stock market, Sir Martin and his wife became prolific philanthropists, supporting business start-ups, scientific innovation, young people and the natural environment.
Sir Martin and Lady Wood co-founded the Earth Trust in 1982. Another charity to benefit from their love of country pursuits is the Sylva Foundation based at the Wood Centre in Long Wittenham.
In 1985, Sir Martin and Lady Wood co-founded The Oxford Trust, creating Oxfordshire’s first innovation centre for science and technology start-ups. The Trust owns the Oxford Centre for Innovation and opened the new Wood Centre two years ago.
Together these centres help dozens of young tech companies get a head start. Through its Science Oxford programmes it reaches annually 20,000 students, 600 teachers and hundreds of families across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
The Sylva Foundation was co-founded by Sir Martin and Dr Gabriel Hemery in 2009 to promote Britain’s wood culture. The foundation supports twenty-five woodworking business and delivers an education programme supporting employment and promoting the use of home-grown timber.
He was a true gentleman and philanthropist. In & beyond Long Wittenham he will be remembered for his commitment to the Western direction of housing growth for Didcot, with a view to preserving the amenities of the AONB & surrounding countryside for the benefit of future generations.
A truly great man, philanthropist and visionary for our area, shaping the villages we live in as we know them today.I am sure we wouldn’t have the beautiful local walks and environment we know now without his support, input and love of our neighbourhoods.