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Sussex disability campaigner dies after being made MBE
7:10pm Friday 3rd August 2012 in News
A disability campaigner died less than a month after he was made MBE.
Charles Boughton-Leigh was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours after spending more than 30 years trying to improve services and care for disabled and elderly people.
Mr Boughton-Leigh had been feeling unwell for a few days when he collapsed suddenly.
Doctors found he had a large tumour. In the end his wife Ann and their four sons Andrew, James, George and Tom had just a week to say their final goodbyes.
Friends said Mr Boughton-Leigh had been delighted to be told he would be made MBE in July, but he tragically did not manage to receive his award from the Queen in person as the ceremony was due to be held in December.
Mr Boughton-Leigh, of East Preston, began his work campaigning for vulnerable people when his Down’s Syndrome twins Andrew and James were born 41 years ago.
In the 1980s he co-founded Ferring Country Centre near Worthing to provide a horse riding centre that helped more than 100 people with learning difficulties.
He also chaired Worthing Mencap and for 12 years served as chief officer of Age Concern Haywards Heath, as a board member of Age Concern South East and started Saturday Dementia Clubs across the county.
Last year he founded the Don’t Cut Us Out campaign against West Sussex County Council ’s proposed cuts to services.
Co-founder of the campaign Barry Pickethall said: “He didn’t even know he was ill.
“He never got to accept his MBE in person.
“He was so excited when he was told he was getting it.
“They write to you and ask if you’ll accept the honour beforehand but you’re sworn to secrecy.
“Charles had devoted his adult life to caring and campaigning for the vulnerable.”
His other great passion was rugby. He had been a president of Worthing Rugby Club and was honoured by the Rugby Football Union in 2004 for his voluntary work in the sport.
Close friend Bob Rodgers said: “The MBE was well overdue. Charles has done more than anyone over the past 30 years to improve services and care support for the elderly and disabled.”
His funeral will be held at midday on Monday, August 6 at East Preston Church, followed by a wake at Worthing Rugby Club.