TRIBUTES have been paid to a community-minded Bromsgrove man who was well-known for his work with the Princess of Wales Community Hospital and the Primrose Hospice and for starting the town’s twinning association.
Ivor Stephenson passed away on June 6 and, following his death, residents and representatives have been lining up to give thanks for all the causes he championed and the good work he did.
Ivor was the former Chief Executive of the Bromsgrove and Redditch District Health Authority when the Princess of Wales Community Hospital opened in 1992.
He was proud to welcome Princess Diana for the opening ceremony.
Ivor was also a trustee of the Primrose Hospice for 28 years having been involved with the charity since its launch.
During almost three decades, he worked tirelessly and was an outstanding supporter and ambassador.
The Primrose’s chair of trustees Candy Cooley said: “He knew all the staff and most of the volunteers by name.
“He knew the history and the issues of the hospice and palliative care across Worcestershire.”
She added when she was approached by Ivor to take over, because of the wonderful job he had done, she was apprehensive. But he convinced her she could do it and helped her along the way.
“We have spoken by phone and email since he stepped down from the board. I have valued his opinion, his advice and his support.
“The hospice, the board and I will miss him.”
The Primrose’s CEO Helen Briscoe said she had the pleasure of working with him for her first 13 months there but even after he would still pop in and offer support.
“Ivor had endless enthusiasm and was a huge encouragement to the team here.
“His knowledge of the NHS along with his local knowledge gave him huge insight into the challenges that Primrose Hospice faces and he was a really important part of the team.
“Ivor made a huge impact on people he met – not in a flamboyant way as he was a true gentleman – but by his quiet wisdom and sound advice.
“He will be greatly missed.”
The Bromsgrove twinning link with St Sauveur Lendelin came about after one of the residents of the Normandy town helped Ivor following a car accident in 1997.
From that, links were set up between Bromsgrove and St Sauveur and over the years countless friendships have been forged as residents from France have visited the UK and vice versa.
Janet King, the chairman from the Bromsgrove and District Twinning Association, said: “It was not by chance that it prospered and grew – that was very much due to the hard work and enthusiasm, which both Ivor and his wife Judith invested in the new venture.
“Ivor was kind, generous, and hard working for BDTA and very good company; we shall miss him very much.”
Ivor and Judith also ran a sub-aqua club in Northfield, introducing a lot of young people to the sport and he was well-known by Bromsgrove District Council and councillors because of his community work.
Former councillor Janice Boswell said: “He was very well respected in Bromsgrove and in France and Germany when we had trips out there.
“A lot of people will have a lot of fond memories of Ivor who was a perfect gentleman.”
Ivor is survived by Judith, his two daughters and three grandchildren.
A family funeral took place yesterday (Thursday) and there will be a special memorial service on July 24 at 2pm at St Andrew’s Church, Barnt Green.