Sheffield businessman dies on rowing boat in front of his children

Keith Marshall

Keith Marshall

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Tributes have been paid to a Sheffield businessman who died in front of his children as he rowed a boat in Scarborough.

Keen sportsman Keith Marshall was managing director of power generation company Wardpower, which is based on Wicker Lane and works with organisations such as Vodafone and National Grid.

Mr Marshall, 46, died from a heart attack on Bank Holiday Monday as he rowed a boat with his two teenage children on board.

His children rowed the boat to shore after their father began to suffer chest pains.

Scarborough Rowing Club members desperately tried to resuscitate him before he was rushed to hospital, but he died on arrival.

Father-of-three Mr Marshall, who lived in Rochdale with fellow Wardpower worker Vicky Law and their son Zach, was a junior rugby coach and a veteran rower.

He had worked in Sheffield for 14 years and was a well-known figure in both the UK power generation industry and the Sheffield business community.

He was also a University of Sheffield graduate.

In 2010, Mr Marshall was promoted to become Wardpower’s managing director, having previously been projects director for the company.

Bob Linley, chairman of Wardpower, said staff had been devastated to learn of Mr Marshall’s death.

He said he had been a driving force behind the company’s success in recent years and had been a well-liked and respected colleague.

Mr Linley said: “He basically took our company from a hard-working jobbing company to a very well-respected major player in power generation systems.

“He was very well-respected throughout the industry.

“To say it was an absolute shock to hear the news is an understatement.”

Mr Marshall was also a past chairman of the national Association of Manufacturers of Power Systems (AMPS) and the chairman of that group’s technical committee.

Mr Linley said: “We have spent a lot of time speaking to people who are passing on their condolences. He was a very-well respected chap.”

He said the company is planning to put on a memorial event for Mr Marshall in the near future.

A spokesman for Scarborough RUFC, where Mr Marshall was an official, said: “He was an inspiration to dozens of young players for years and his loss will be felt by all connected with both the rugby club and rowing club.

“Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with Keith’s family and especially his two children, Joe and Annie, who must be experiencing unbearable pain at this devastating time.

“We will remember him for the dedication and commitment he gave so freely to helping others progress in their lives through the team spirit and comradeship playing rugby can bring.

“God bless you Keith.”

Mr Marshall’s 18-year-old son Joe said: “He was a brilliant dad.

“My dad loved a laugh, but as soon as he stepped on the pitch he was nothing but serious.

“But all the tributes since he died have been overwhelming.

“I don’t think he realised just how much of an effect he had on people’s lives.”

Mike Wingrove, who helped to coach alongside Mr Marshall, said: “He was a total gent.

“The strength of his character to take those boys along was incredible.

“He didn’t differentiate between anyone, and saw the good in everyone.

“He had an uncanny knack of taking them forwards, and he’s going to be a big loss, without a doubt.”

Scarborough Coroner’s Office is aware of the death and an inquest is now expected to be held for Mr Marshall.