Past and present employees of Dorset’s luxury boat-builder Sunseeker are being invited to pay their respects to its founder.

A memorial service is being held this Saturday in Poole to celebrate the life of Robert Braithwaite.

Mr Braithwaite, who died in March at the age of 75, started the business in the 1960s as a distributor of imported power boats.

The company grew into a world-renowned builder of luxury yachts, employing around 2,600 people between its Portland operation and its Poole headquarters.

A memorial service takes place this Saturday, 11am, at St James’ Church in the centre of Poole.

Sunseeker said: “We are seeking the help of the Echo to reach employees, past and present as well as suppliers and other local members of the trade or public who may wish to pay their respects.”

Space in the church is limited, so anyone attending is asked to email

Robert Braithwaite left school at 15 and founded Friars Cliff Marine to sell various brands, including small boats made by the American firm Owens Cruisers.

The company moved to Poole to become Poole Powerboats in 1969.

When Owens Cruisers decided to close its UK operation, Mr Braithwaite raised some money and drove to Owens’ offices in Arundel to negotiate a deal to buy its boat moulds.

He was soon joined in the business by his brother John, who became heavily involved in designing yachts.

The business became Sunseeker International in 1985.

The growing popularity of Sunseeker yachts saw models appear in four James Bond films, and Mr Braithwaite was invited to make an appearance in the Daniel Craig film Quantum of Solace.

Awarded a CBE in 2007, he stepped down from his day-to-day role at Sunseeker in 2012 but continued as president.

Last month, Sunseeker announced that the first 10 of its Hawk 38 boats would be a limited edition bearing a plaque commemorating Mr Braithwaite.