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The Daily Mail
By Laura Clark, Daniel Bates and Justin Davenport
Last updated at 1:23 PM on 17th February 2009
Millionaire charity chairman Sir Peter Lampl has been found safe and well at a train station after a commuter recognised him from a newspaper article about his disappearance.
Sir Peter, who has been suffering from depression, was discovered this morning in a ‘confused’ state at Victoria station in central London just two days after he vanished.
A spokesman for his charity, the SuttonTrust, said: ‘He was sitting at Victoria station and a lady was sat near him reading a newspaper and recognised him from the photograph.
‘She walked over with the newspaper and said ‘this is you, isn’t it?’ and she urged him to contact his family. He then called his personal assistant.’
The 61-year-old philanthropist went missing from his £1.8million home on Sunday.
Missing: Sir Peter Lampl’s family are ‘very concerned’. The philanthropist is pictured above with students from under-privileged backgrounds who his charitable organisation has provided with educational opportunities
Fears had been growing for Sir Peter since he vanished from his Wimbledon home on Sunday morning.
He had been taking medication for depression since the breakdown of his marriage but did not have it with him when he left.
Before he had been found his father revealed today how Sir Peter’s condition had deteriorated and he would not eat anything after doctors had changed his medication for depression.
He added that his son, a ‘very keen golfer’ went to see a specialist last week after getting concerned that his handicap and overall game was suffering.
The 61-year-old made his fortune with private equity firm, the Sutton Company, before founding education charity the Sutton Trust.
It is understood he had recently decided to take a sabbatical from his role as the trust’s chairman.
Last night, his wife Karen, a trustee of the charity, and their children, Katherine, 13, Christopher, 11 and Stephanie, eight, were said to be ‘very concerned’ for his welfare following his disappearance from his home in Wimbledon, South-West London.
It was also claimed last night that the couple have been having marital difficulties in recent months.
Sir Peter lives apart from his wife, who is understood to be visiting the United States with their children.
Today, family members including his mother, sister Erica and a niece gathered at his five-bedroom house to wait for news.
Tim Devlin, spokesman for the Sutton Trust, which gives educational opportunities to youngsters from under-privileged backgrounds, said: ‘This is not like him at all. He is meticulous with his timekeeping and would always let people know where he was and what he was doing.
‘I understand that he has been feeling low for some time. I don’t know the reason why but he has been down, that much is clear.
‘He was prescribed tablets for his condition but he’s not taken them with him.
‘He left his home on Sunday morning and has not been seen since. The family are understandably very concerned.’
Sir Peter disappeared from his home in Wimbledon, South-West London
Sir Peter, who was given a knighthood in 2003, attended a Reigate grammar school in Surrey, Oxford University and London Business School, before making his fortune in management consultancy and private equity.
In 1997, he decided to focus on education and established the Sutton Trust. His first venture took groups of state school pupils to a two-week summer school at Oxford University.
The trust, along with the Government now runs summer schools at 60 universities for 6,000 inner-city state school teenagers every year.
A key Government adviser on education for several years, Sir Peter has been a frequent visitor to Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for Education and was also a private guest of Tony Blair at Chequers when he was prime minister.
He was also lauded by Gordon Brown at the trust’s ten-year anniversary celebrations for his ‘life-transforming’ work.
Although he became known as ‘Blair’s favourite millionaire’ on account of his close links to the Labour Party, Sir Peter turned on the Government in 2004 over its flagship academy scheme.
He argued that the huge amounts – believed to be at least £25million – spent on each academy could be better spent if distributed more widely.
Claiming to be a ‘critical friend’ of the Government, he said at the time: ‘They’ve not done enough for social justice though they have made improvements to education’.
It is believed colleagues at the trust have recently encouraged him to visit schools in America which have succeeded in promoting social mobility for underprivileged children.
Sir Peter also has homes in Florida and New York, and friends were hoping last night that he has gone abroad to pursue his educational interests.
DI Grahame Horwood, of Merton Police, said: ‘Sir Peter’s disappearance is entirely out of character, and his family are very concerned for his safety. If anyone has seen him or knows where he is, please get in touch.’
Sir Peter was last seen at his home at 8.30am on Sunday. He was wearing a blue sweater and blue casual trousers.
He is described as white, around 5ft 8ins tall, with fair/greying hair, blue eyes and a slight tan.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Missing People on 0500 700 700.
Sir Peter: A life dedicated to creating fairer access to education
Sir Peter was knighted in 2003 and is admired across the education system
Sir Peter Lampl gave up a lucrative career in management consultancy and finance to try to create a fairer education system for children from poorer backgrounds.
Knighted for his work in 2003 he is admired across the education syst
em for campaigning to narrow the education gap between rich and poor.
He describes how a physics teacher once told him: “The only way you’ll ever go to Oxford, my boy, is on the bus!”
In fact, he studied at Corpus Christi college at Oxford and founded the Sutton Trust charity after visiting his old college 20 years on, in the Eighties, to find it had become less socially diverse since he left.
His father was a Czech refugee who came to England in 1938 and he grew up in modest circumstances in Wakefield, then Reigate and then Cheltenham.
He attended Reigate Grammar School before going to Oxford, and then attending the London Business School.
He once said: “When I was at Oxford the university was changing from something akin to a finishing school for academically inclined public school pupils to a university for the most talented, irrespective of background.
“There was a feeling we were in the early stages of establishing a genuine meritocracy.
“I visited Oxford again after many years working abroad and was surprised to find it had not opened up as we had expected.
“It had been transformed from a school drawn from all social classes to the preserve of children of the well-off.”
The first initiative of the Sutton Trust was to set up a summer school at Oxford to encourage teenagers from poor backgrounds to apply to higher education. This now caters for 800 young people every year. Today the trust, with government backing, runs summer schools at 60 universities for 6,000 inner-city state school pupils a year.
He has been a key government adviser on education for many years and was a private guest of Tony Blair at Chequers when he was Prime Ministe r.
Gordon Brown praised his “life transforming” work at the trust’s 10-year anniversary celebrations.