RICHARD JEFFRIES 15.10.1936 – 2.5.2021
When Richard Jeffries retired as the Director of Social Services at Richmond Council in 1997 he was much in demand – but happily for us he lost no time in getting personally involved with 3 local groups supporting people with learning disabilities and their families in the borough: Richmond Mencap where he served as a trustee for over 22 years, including 13 years as our Chair; the Richmond Gateway Club which provides weekly activities for people with learning disabilities; and the Friends group at Normansfield Hospital in Teddington, which later under his leadership became The Normansfield & Richmond Foundation – providing grants to individuals with learning disabilities in the borough and the groups which support.
Richard was a regular at all the Mencap fundraising events and celebrations like the Christmas Party and he ensured that our Mencap holiday bungalow in Eastbourne provided a good base for holidays – even enjoying going there himself to check up on things. But he also shepherded our charity through all the changes of the last two decades – knowing that though so much progress had been made, there was still so much more that needed to be done to protect the rights of people with le
arning disabilities and support them to take a real part in their local communities.
His vision of supporting people with learning disabilities and their families made him a doer, a campaigner and a role model for staff and volunteers. A real gentleman! with a wealth of knowledge and expertise which helped us all and a kind and caring nature which made everything seem possible. He leaves all 3 charities in safe hands and his legacy will continue to benefit the people he cared about so passionately.
Richard did so much and is fondly remembered and very sadly missed by all who knew him. We will think of him as we continue this important work.
Faye Byrne of The Gateway Club remembers Richard as the Chair for over 20 years, first when the Club was based at Normansfield and now at Linden Hall, Hampton. He was always there on Tuesday evenings to open up and greet members on arrival. His broad knowledge of people, procedures, requirements and Club governance meant that meetings were always well prepared and ran smoothly. He was a great supporter of our key fundraiser – a Fun Run around Richmond Park – in all weathers, seeing people off and waiting for the very last person to return, and was delighted with its success. Richard had great compassion and care for members, volunteers and leaders, and mentored those who needed help. He was a huge presence in the life of Richmond Gateway is sorely missed – a truly Christian man.
Lydia Hansbury, of the Normansfield & Richmond Foundation remembers Richard as a trustee from 2001 to his death (and as Chair from 2003-2017). He was a very caring man with a real understanding of the many issues affecting people with learning disabilities and their families locally. He always gave very careful consideration to every grant application received by the Foundation and his views were highly respected by his fellow trustees. He did so much for the local community and is sadly missed by all who were privileged to have known such a gentle, caring and kind man.