New role for Heathfield man

Roger Thomas
Roger Thomas

Former chairman of East Sussex County Council Roger Thomas, 73, from Ghyll Road, Heathfield, has been appointed chairman of the East Sussex Association of Blind and Partially Sighted People.

He said: “I have had problems with my sight since an accident at the age of four and have had an artificial eye since the age of 25. I suffer from glaucoma and macular degeneration and been blind during various courses of treatment so I understand what sight loss is like. I think this gives me an excellent informed view of what life can be like for people with restricted vision or even complete blindness.”

Roger’s industrial, commercial and community work spans an astonishing range of interests and continents.

Married with three daughters and six grandchildren, he studied for his Certificate of Education at St John’s College, York, worked as a youth warden and teacher in the notorious Tiger Bay, Cardiff, and subsequently took up the position as a head teacher in Kampala, Uganda. He became the leading expat presenter on UTV but was later banned from broadcasting, chosen as a political hostage by Idi Amin - and survived!

He took up a broadcasting job with the BBC and was in the chair on phone-in night when the Birmingham bombings took place. As a result the Army requested his move to Northern Ireland where he was asked to make programmes to strengthen morale.

A move to Hong Kong followed where he presented and produced radio programmes before becoming involved in the American Chamber of Commerce. In 1988 he represented Asian Broadcasting and Hong Kong TV to present at the Seoul Olympics.

He’s been chair of the Local Government Association’s Coastal Special Interest Group and Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, a DEFRA committee member for implementing the Marine and Coastal Access Act and member of the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and Local Government Flood Forum. A background in travel saw him appointed to serve on the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee. He is currently a member of Heathfield and Waldron Parish Council where he sits on various committees and he is also a director of the Heathfield Leisure Centre.

Roger’s latest, most unusual role is to act as a celebrant at a secular funeral and celebration of life. He will discuss the ceremony with families, talk through readings, poems and music and help to write the eulogy or even give it himself. Contact him on: 01435 868229