Wednesday 21 February 2018

Ian Cameron

Stockbroker in the City of London who overcame disability to lead a life peppered with sporting activities

Ian Cameron, who died on September 8, aged 77, was a successful stockbroker in the City of London and the father of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Ian Donald Cameron was born in London on October 12, 1932, the son of Donald Ewen Cameron and Enid (née Levita), who came from a Polish banking family. The Camerons had worked in the City for several generations.

His great-grandfather, Sir Ewen Cameron, came from Invernesshire in the 1860s to work for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Cameron's grandfather, Ewen Ivan, became senior partner of the stockbroking firm, Panmure Gordon, as did Ian's father, Donald.

From birth Ian's legs were severely deformed, requiring him to wear special raised boots. He was sent to board at Betteshanger prep school in Kent. His mother treated him with much affection, but also believed that the effect of his disability had to be minimised, that he had to develop a sense of independence.

Shortly before he went to Eton, Ian's father left his mother and married an Austrian, Marielen von Meiss-Teuffen. It was a difficult period for the boy, and he did not shine academically at school. He did, however, show the determination that was to be a hallmark of his character, and was not shy. One of his school friends recalled playing a game of indoor football with him: "I had the ball at my feet, and I said, 'Oh yes, this is Ian, I can get past him.' Suddenly my wrists were seized in an iron grip, because all the strength of his legs had gone into his arms and wrists. He had this amazing strength, and he was always incredibly resilient, courageous and outgoing."

When it came to the Field Game, the school's home-grown hybrid of football and rugby, Ian played in a position comparable to scrum-half, where he found that his low centre of gravity sometimes proved an advantage.

Ian decided against going to university; neither did he do National Service, on account of his disability. Instead he trained as an accountant, a profession he disliked so much that he later banned his children from pursuing it. He then spent two years as a banker at Robert Fleming before following the family tradition by entering Panmure Gordon; he became a partner before the age of 30. Moving into a flat in Basil Street, Knightsbridge, he threw what a friend described as "endless parties with the most beautiful girls".

Cameron spent most of his career with the firm, which after Big Bang was taken over by North Carolina National Bank. It has been estimated that he made £2m from deregulation, and he continued to work at the firm until it was again taken over, in the mid-Nineties, this time by Westdeutsche Landesbank. From then on until the day of his death, he was a consultant with NCL Investments.

He appeared to have the stature of a man of about 6ft 2in tall, but owing to his disability was actually about a foot shorter. One member of the Cameron family summed up the household when Ian Cameron was the father of a young family: "Whingeing was not on the menu." Though he regretted not being able to ski, he loved tennis, continuing to play into his 40s.

He was much admired for his determination to live a normal life. Even in later life, when both his legs had to be amputated, he refused to use a wheelchair, preferring to get about on artificial limbs.

His son David would say that "The Dad" was a constant example. "My father always used to say that nothing in life is fair, but he was of the view that you had to muck in and get on with things and deal with the difficult stuff that comes your way. He is a very optimistic person."

Ian Cameron's great passion was horse racing. He liked to attend Royal Ascot and the Guineas and July meetings at Newmarket. He owned racehorses, trained in the early days by Peter Walwyn and in latter years by John Dunlop .

Cameron was also a formidable bridge player, and liked to test his skills at the Portland Club. He was an ex-chairman of White's and a former High Sheriff of Berkshire.

Ian Cameron married, in 1962, Mary Fleur Mount, daughter of Sir William Mount, Bt. She survives him with their two sons and two daughters.

Sunday Independent

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