Obituary: Littlehampton man remembered for his work in the deaf community in West Sussex, including setting up and helping to run social clubs

A man born profoundly deaf has been remembered for his work in the community, including setting up a social club in Littlehampton and serving on the committee of another in Worthing.

Maurice Cammiade died on October 4 at the age of 93, leaving three children, Jimmy, Danny and Monica, plus eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Born in Tottenham in March 1928, Maurice was a young child when his family moved to Rustington and he remained in the area all his life.

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Maurice attended a school for the deaf in Brighton and learned to speak using various techniques. He could communicate with anyone using lip reading and sign language.

Maurice Cammiade died on October 4 at the age of 93

Monica said Maurice came from a large family and his brother was also deaf but the rest of his nine siblings were hearing.

“He and his brother became known for their magic tricks at parties when they were younger,” she said.

“This was something that he carried through and he would often amaze his grandchildren with his magic tricks.”

During the Second World War, Maurice worked in a nursery and in the fields with the Land Girls.

Maurice Cammiade, back row, second left, set up a social club for the deaf in Littlehampton and served on the committee of another in Worthing

He went on to work at Duke and Ockenden, and Dando, in Littlehampton, as a water pump fitter and then worked for Hago as a maintenance fitter for more than 25 years.

Monica said: “He was known for his creative thinking and there was not a machine he could not repair. After his retirement, he was asked to return to Hagos to help restore the machinery, so the factory could commence making metal baskets again, because the company were unable to find anyone with the skills to restore the machinery. He returned and worked for them for a further two years.

“He was known for his ability to repair and restore many items that others couldn’t. It was not uncommon for his neighbours to knock on his door and ask for some advice or to borrow a tool. He was always willing to lend a hand and even up until shortly before his death, he could be found in his workshop enjoying his woodwork.

“He was always a pleasant and kind man who was always happy to help others. He was always making things for other people. He took everything in his stride, he never complained and he didn’t worry.”

A lifelong member of the deaf community, Maurice visited various deaf clubs in the area over the years. He played an active role in the Worthing club, particularly with fundraising, but stepped back to raise his three children.

He met his wife Elizabeth at a deaf club in London and they were married within six months. The couple went on to celebrate their golden wedding in 2006 but sadly Elizabeth died shortly afterwards.

As the children grew up, Maurice became more involved with the deaf community again and with the help of the Red Cross, he set up and ran a deaf club in Littlehampton through the 1970s and 1980s. This was started in South Terrace and later moved to the Scout Hut in Wick. He was also heavily involved with the Deaf Catholic Church in Horsham.

After Elizabeth died, Maurice took a more active role in the Worthing Deaf Darby and Joan Club, which became Worthing Deaf 50 + Club, where he was a committee member until he died.

Simon Hesselberg, treasurer, said: “Maurice, was a valued, committed member of Worthing Deaf 50 + Club and contributed so much of his time and energy to the club by organising the tables, games and raffles.

“He was also a fantastic historian, telling us stories in BSL (British Sign Language) about the club, which was set up in 1952. Maurice kept photographs, which we will of course keep to show at our 70th anniversary in 2022. He will be greatly missed by all of us and his family.”

Darren Jensen, club chairman, said: “Maurice was always at the forefront of the club, having a high moral compass and always supported every member. He was a very positive man and saw the best in everyone. His sense of humour ensured the club was full of smiles and laughter.”

The funeral, organised by Ian Hart Funeral Service, will be at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church on October 27 at 10.30am followed by a service at Worthing Crematorium at 12pm. Family flowers only please, donations to Worthing Deaf 50 + Club.