Tributes have flooded in for a fundraising stalwart from Seaford who died last week.
Don Mabey, who was appointed MBE for voluntary service to the Royal Air Forces Association in the New Year Honours List, passed away on Wednesday, December 18.
The 92-year-old, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year and had heart problems, fell unwell on Wednesday morning and died in hospital later that day.
Mr Mabey, who was born in Wales and joined the Royal Air Force as a teenager, had links with many clubs and organisations and was president of the Royal Society of St George Seahaven branch and president of Seaford Head Golf Club up until his death. He had previously been president of Seahaven RAFA. He was also founder and president of Oxted and Limpstead branch of RAFA up until August this year.
His dedication did not go unnoticed and last year a special ceremony was held to honour the great grandfather, along with fellow Seaford resident Laurie Holland, who were awarded the title of Honorary Freeman. The pair were the first to be given the Freedom of the Town from Seaford Town Council.
Mr Mabey, who lived in Upper Sherwood Road with wife Maeve – to whom he had been married for 24 years– has two daughters, four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Mrs Mabey said, “We had a wonderful marriage and he really was a kind person. It’s unbelievable what people have said about him in the cards.
“He did suffer a lot of illness but he still struggled on. He was a perfect husband.”
The nonagenarian was a keen fundraiser for RAFA charities and raised tens of thousands of pounds over the years.
Close friend Len Fisher said, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Don and his family for some 15 years, he was a very good friend and a total gentleman.
“He was committed to his beloved RAFA and I recall a couple of years ago trying to find a time spot in his very hectic diary for a meeting, on one particularly freezing winter’s cold day Don and Maeve weren’t free because they would be driving to the M25 Clackets Lane services to do their stint with their collection boxes for RAFA. They were both in their late 80s!
“When I heard the sad news of Don’s passing I couldn’t believe it, I just imagined that he would go on forever.
“My thoughts go to Maeve and the family, this is a very sad day for Seaford.”
Squadron leader Peter Bonfield, who was chairman of Seahaven RAFA when Mr Mabey was president, called him ‘very generous’, adding, “He was a very reliable person, you could always rely on him to do things.
“He was a good person to lean on and to talk through your problems or concerns with. He was a bit like a father figure.”