THE man credited with 'transforming' care for bereaved parents at Salisbury Hospital, Sir Christopher Benson, has died aged 90. 

Posting on Facebook, Salisbury Hospital's charity the Stars Appeal said it is "deeply saddened by the passing of our long-time friend and benefactor Sir Christopher Benson".

Sir Christopher, along with his late wife Lady Benson, were both "hugely generous and highly committed supporters of the Stars Appeal".

Sir Christopher was born on July 20, 1933 in Wheaton Aston in Staffordshire. 

He attended Worcester Cathedral King’s School from 1945-47, and The Incorporated Thames Nautical College HMS Worcester from 1947-1949. 

In 1960, he married Margaret Josephine Bundy. A justice of the peace, mayor of Salisbury (1969–1970), and a deputy lieutenant of Wiltshire, Jo Benson was awarded the OBE in 1973. She died in 2022

Sir Christopher was knighted in the 1988 New Year Honours for public services, and he was High Sheriff of Wiltshire for 2002.

Sir Christopher was also chairman of Salisbury Vision in 2008 and a patron of River Bourne Community Farm. 

He died on January 21 at his home in Salisbury after a long-term illness. 

Salisbury Journal: Sir Christopher BensonSir Christopher Benson (Image: Newsquest)

'We send our deepest sympathies and condolences'

In 2013, it was their gift that enabled the creation of The Benson Suite at Salisbury Hospital, which provides ‘a place of peace’ for local families who lose a baby at birth.

Over the years, further support from Sir Christopher, and that from those that the Benson Suite has inspired, is funding the hospital’s first-ever dedicated bereavement midwife.

Last April, the charity was joined by Sir Christopher to mark the 10th anniversary of the Benson Suite, at which he was able to meet some of the many parents who have had call to use the Suite, and hear about the difference it had made to them.

The Stars Appeal added: "The Benson Suite and dedicated bereavement midwife have transformed the care provided at Salisbury Hospital to local families who so sadly lose a baby.

"Sir Christopher’s legacy, alongside that of Lady Benson's, will live on through the lives their generosity will continue to touch over the months and years to come.

"We send our deepest sympathies and condolences to Sir Christopher’s sons, Charles and Julian, and their families, and will be keeping them in our thoughts throughout this difficult time."

Salisbury Journal: Sir Christopher Benson (left)Sir Christopher Benson (left) (Image: Newsquest)

He is survived by his sons Charles, 61, and Julian, 59, and one grandson, Hector. 

Salisbury Journal: Sir Christopher and Lady Jo Benson with their sons Charlie and Julian at Lady Benson's 80th birthday luncheon at Pauls Dene House.Sir Christopher and Lady Jo Benson with their sons Charlie and Julian at Lady Benson's 80th birthday luncheon at Pauls Dene House. (Image: Newsquest)

'The end of an era' 

MP for Salisbury John Glen said: "The sad passing of Sir Christopher feels like the end of an era for Salisbury.

“I am grateful for his many years of unstinting and distinguished service to charities and the community.

“His generosity of spirit and his sound judgment will be much missed.”

Mrs Sarah Troughton, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire added: “Sir Christopher was a most generous, kind and particularly charming person and, with his late wife Jo, was part and parcel of life in Salisbury for many years. He will be greatly missed.”