A statement from Spinal Injuries Association: Sir Frank Williams CBE
Francis Owen Garbutt Williams, Williams Racing former team principal, born 16 April 1942; died 28 November 2021
We’re devastated to learn about the passing of Sir Frank Williams CBE, founder and former team principal of Williams Racing at the age of 79.
Sir Frank was dedicated to Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) throughout his life. He was a shining example of our own mission – a fulfilled life for everyone affected by spinal cord injury, and he will continue to be an inspiration to our members in the future.
Back in 2015, his daughter Claire Williams became a Vice President of SIA. We became the official charity for Williams Racing further supporting Sir Frank’s legacy within the SCI community.
We are incredibly touched that the Williams family have asked that those wishing to pay tribute to Sir Frank make a donation to SIA in place of gifts. They have asked us to share the following page:
Sir Frank’s life will continue to play a huge role within the movement of recognising spinal cord injury in our society and reminding everyone who becomes injured, that they can continue to achieve their own dreams. To date, Williams Racing has helped us raise in excess of £150,000 and we are incredibly grateful for their continued support.
Sir Frank was an icon in Formula 1 and after becoming spinal cord injured, following a car accident in 1986, he went on to become one of the most recognised and respected people in the sport.
After his accident in 1986, Sir Frank went through months of recovery and rehabilitation, with support from SIA, before returning to F1.
Williams Racing went on to become one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport and Sir Frank’s integrity and fierce determination, both on the track and in his personal life, meant he became a legend in the sport and in the spinal cord injury (SCI) community.
Our former Chair and current Trustee Michelle Howard said:
“I will always remember with fondness his many years of stalwart support to the SIA and his generosity was greatly appreciated by all of us.
Sir Frank sustained his injury at a time in the 1980s when the world of spinal cord injury was very different and I think it’s a tribute to his determination to ensure that he was able to lead the life he wanted to lead, that was a great influence on many of us youngsters who had our injuries at around the same time as him.
When many people were telling us that our potential would be limited, we could always see Sir Frank out there, leading from the front, in all the myriad countries that the F1 circus went to every year. It gave us the courage to say that if Frank could do it so could we.”
Sir Frank Williams is survived by his three children, Jonathan, Claire and Jamie, and two grandchildren, Ralph and Nathaniel. Our thoughts are with the Williams family at this difficult time.
As mentioned above, for those wishing to pay tribute, the Williams family has asked for donations to be made in place of gifts to the SIA, to support the work of the charity that Sir Frank loved. Donations will help us continue to support tens of thousands of spinal cord injured people across the UK so that they can also live a fulfilled life. Alternatively, flowers are welcome to be placed at the entrance of the team’s headquarters in Grove, Oxfordshire.