Many friends contributed to the Crawley Gap Year Scholarships fund but the benefactor-in-chief was Tony O'Reilly (now Sir Anthony), a close family friend who knew Andrew and Randall well and loved their energy and enterprise. It is Tony's extraordinary generosity which has secured the Scholarships for generations to come. At the Crawley Scholars Reunion on September 6th 2004, Tony was the main speaker and he had us all in fits of laughter from the start.
Sir Anthony O'Reilly was a world-class sportsman who played rugby for Ireland 29 times and for the British and Irish Lions team 10 times. He first played for Ireland at the age of eighteen.
He was born in Dublin in 1936 and was educated at the city's Belvedere College, at University College, Dublin and at the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. Later he attained a Ph.D in agricultural marketing from the University of Bradford, in England.
He joined the Irish Dairy Board and was Chief Executive Officer from 1966 to 1969. Later he moved to H.J. Heinz Company where he was Chief Executive Officer from 1979 to 1998.
Currently Sir Anthony is the Executive Chairman and the largest shareholder of Independent News and Media PLC. The company publishes over 165 newspapers and magazine titles, including the British newspaper The Independent, and is the largest radio and outdoor advertising operator in Australasia.
He is also Chairman of Eircom, the largest telecom company in Ireland, and Chairman of Waterford Wedgwood. (You can see from this that he is a man of indefatigable energy!)
In 2001 Tony O'Reilly was knighted by the Queen, as a knight bachelor. The citation was for his consistent work over 25 years for peace in Northern Ireland.