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George Kurkjian

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George Sarkis Kurkjian was one of Britain's most respected Armenians. He was born in Cairo on July 30, 1928. Their family moved to Britain when he was only 3.

Kurkjian was educated at Oundle and took his BA and MA at Trinity College, Dublin.

He became, with his brother John, a partner in the family firm, S N Kurkjian, which trades in commodities.

In 1982 Kurkjian inherited his father's responsibility for managing the external bank account of the Holy See of the Armenian Church. He also became president of the board of trustees of St Sarkis Church, Kensington and a patron of the Armenian Institute in London.

A businessman and the director of several charities, he was also the senior layman of the Armenian Church in Great Britain, and in that capacity he acted as adviser to several Archbishops of Canterbury.

Kurkjian was appointed OBE in 1986 for services to the City of London. He set up Aid Armenia, a relief organisation to help the victims of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988.

For his work in this and other charities concerned with Armenia he received numerous awards, including the Order of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, with diamonds (the highest order of the Armenian Church), the Cross of Saint Augustine, bestowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, and an honorary doctorate from Trinity in 1991.