Volunteer honoured for 40 years’ service

A VOLUNTEER from Eastbourne has been made an MBE for his 40 years of service in the community.

Michael Staff, chairman of the Abbeyfield Society, made the Queen’s honours list for his work with the charity which provides sheltered housing and registered care across the UK.

His work at other organisations in East Sussex over the past 40 years was also recognised. Mr Staff worked as a bank manager at various NatWest branches across the region before retiring in 1991.

During his working years in Eastbourne, he was part of the founding committee that established the Eastbourne Association of Voluntary Services with Councillor Joe Engelman and Cannon Docker and the founding committee of St Wilfrid’s Hospice with the late Dr Basil Kent.

Mr Staff also worked for the Eastbourne Senior Citizens Club and Eastbourne Blind Society. Throughout his time in Eastbourne he was also treasurer for the Eastbourne Operatic and Dramatic Society and is now its president. After retirement, Mr Staff joined the Abbeyfield Society in Eastbourne as treasurer and after 19 years is still at the charity as chairman.

Over the 19 years he has taken on many roles at Abbeyfield and is now chairman of the national society.

Mr Staff has always had a keen interest in music and was co-founder and first chairman of the Eastbourne Choral Society in the early 1990s as well as being co-founder of the South Downs Singers in 2001. He is still chairman of the Polegate Community Choir.

Mr Staff said, “It is a great personal honour to receive this award, but I would like to stress that it is very much for the Abbeyfield Society and its volunteers and staff who work tirelessly for their residents’ welfare.”

He now lives in Alfriston with his second wife Ruth and is churchwarden at St Andrew’s Parish Church.

He has two sons living locally and a step-son and daughter living in Surrey. Mr Staff is also a grandfather to seven.