Sir James was born in 1917, the only child of Max Christian Hamilton Colyer-Fergusson and Edith Jane, née White Miller. He was a kind, gentle and generous man. As a boy Sir James lived at Ightham Mote and he was educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford.
He then enlisted as a Captain in the East Kent Regiment and was taken prisoner of war in 1940. His working life was spent in railways, becoming Passenger Officer to the South East Division of British Rail’s Southern Region, and later Parliamentary and Public Correspondent to the British Rail Board. He was passionate about trains and their timetables, and travelled everywhere by rail if he possible could. Sir James’ other passions were Kent, its people and the preservation of its churches. His inheritance of family estates allowed him to establish a charitable trust in 1969 to make grants to support the communities he was so passionately committed to. After a short illness Sir James died on the 9th January 2004. He was an extremely modest man who never sought profile or publicity for his philanthropy, but through the work of the trust his name will live on as a fitting and permanent memorial to his generosity and philanthropy.