I speak today on behalf of the Independent Members but I also speak on behalf of Senator Ross who was a friend of Gordon Lambert. I knew Gordon very well and had known him since the 1960s. If the term "Renaissance Man" means anything, he was exactly that sort of man. His mother was one of the Mitchell family of wine merchants and it was from her he inherited the art collection to which he added in later years. Given his background, he had a great interest in both wine and in art. He was on the board of the National Gallery of Ireland during the 1970s and later on the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art of which he became a patron. As the Leader stated, he donated his collection to that museum. With David Hendricks, he formed the Hendricks Gallery. His activity in that area was well-recognised and renowned.
He also had a background in accountancy and was a very efficient accountant. He was educated in Russell Schools in Lancashire. He told me, and also recounted it on a radio programme, that while there he became accustomed to having a cold shower every morning and continued that practice for the rest of his life. I did my best to encourage my children to follow his example but I did not get anywhere with that suggestion. It probably served the purpose of waking him up every morning. He became a very efficient managing director of Jacobs and later of Irish Biscuits and was one of the success stories of Irish business in those years.
He was a very private man in other ways. He never married but had a close — shall I say — professional relationship with a lady who was very well-known, Frankie Byrne. The radio programme "Dear Frankie" was sponsored by Jacobs and was one of the most popular programmes on radio.
Gordon was involved with the first television awards in 1962. He competed with Eamonn Andrews to stage the TV awards show which became the Jacobs TV awards. They were originally held in the Jacobs factory in the city centre and I remember attending. When the factory was being renovated, the show was staged in venues in Cork, Galway and Limerick. Those of us who were recipients of the hospitality from Jacobs remember him as a man who loved to entertain. He was great fun but also the sort of man who enriched everyone he met because of his joy and interest in everything he did.
He came from a sporting family. His brother, Ham — short for Hamilton — and to whom I spoke yesterday, is a young man who will not be 95 until next month. Ham played cricket and rugby for Ireland and was a professional rugby player. He told me that Gordon had inherited this love of sport but was never as active as himself.
His desire for privacy was evident in that prior to his death, which occurred last Thursday, he asked that it should not be announced until a private family funeral service had taken place. It is hoped that a public ceremony will take place at a later date.
He was appointed by Jack Lynch to the Seanad and played a very active role particularly in matters of culture and the arts. He is the sort of man one would like to think of as representing the membership of Seanad Éireann.