Len Smith has stepped down as chairman and director at Eastbourne Borough.

A guiding force of the club for more than 40 years, Smith presided over Borough’s remarkable rise from County League football to Conference premier.

After recovering from a stroke in 2011, he returned to full-time involvement at Priory Lane but has now decided to stand down as chairman of the football committee and board director for the sake of his health.

He leaves with the club – which began as Langney Sports – top of Conference south.

Vice chairman and long-time friend Mick Grimer said: “It was Len’s vision and enthusiasm that realised a dream of a successful football club for Eastbourne. It was Len’s drive that overcame apparently insurmountable obstacles to build the club and stadium into what it is today.”