Obituary: Victor Lamont

Victor Lamont
Victor Lamont. Photo: Google+

Widely travelled former Methodist minister, nurse and retail visionary, Victor Lamont, has died aged 78.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of craft businesses in the developing world and during his travels, he touched countless people he met with his humour and enthusiasm for life.

Early life

Victor was born and raised in Liverpool. He was son of stevedore (a dock worker who loaded and unloaded ships) George Lamont, and his wife, Dorothy (nee Hughes).

Victor was ordained as a Methodist minister and married Rowena Highfield, whom he met at a Methodist camp, in 1966. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1998.

If ministers in the church really believe the gospels, then how is it possible to have a boring service?

Victor Lamont in Kenya

Victor Lamont
Victor Lamont. Photo: LinkedIn

A pacifist and conscientious objector, Victor began running youth programmes funded by the World Council of Churches in Limuru, Kenya.

His wife and 6-week-old son Alexander joined him, and later, his second son, Nick, was born in Nairobi.

According to Alexander, his father loved Africa.

Moving to Bangalore in 1973, Victor worked with intermediate technology and created batik banners for churches.

Global Village Crafts

He opened a shop in South Pemberton called Global Village Crafts, with the ethos “trade not aid”, selling crafts from across the developing world.

Using profits from the business, Victor funded a periodical called Basics, providing health, nutrition and technology information in cartoon form, to avoid any language issues.

Within 20 years, the company had grown to include a chain of shops throughout the south-west, a flagship store on the Fulham Road and shops within Harvey Nichols and Liberty.

Return to Kenya

Victor returned to Nairobi in 1995 where he started the Product Design and Development Centre, before travelling on to Chiang Mai in northers Thailand 7 years later.

Victor is survived by his two sons, Nick and Alexander, three granddaughters, Lauren, Isobel and Annie, and a grandson, Joe.