Neil Elphick died on April 13 at Heffle Court Nursing Home in Heathfield at the age of 76, he had suffered with dementia since 2013.
Out of school he worked in his father’s shop where he eventually took over after Kenneth’s death in 1968. His father had built up the business to consist of four butcher’s shops across East Sussex, a small farm, and an abattoir – Neil took over all of it.
To add to this Neil opened the first KFC in Eastbourne on Langney Road. He sold it after a few years.
In 1990 Neil saw the need for a nursing home in Hailsham so founded Ersham House Nursing Home which ran until he sold it in 2011.
Alongside this he was a member of Hailsham Rotary Club, serving for more than 50 years and becoming president in 1978. In 2005 he was awarded the Paul Harris Award for outstanding service.
He also served as a magistrate for 39 years, retiring from the Eastbourne and Hastings bench at the age of 70 having been one of the chairmen of the Juvenile Panel and Youth Courts in Hailsham and Eastbourne for 10 years.
Neil volunteered for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, was president for the local St John Ambulance Brigade, a school governor, and a member of the Friends of Grovelands Committee.
He also managed to find time perform in local musicals, play for Hailsham Hockey Club in the 70s and 80s, and regularly played cards with friends.
Family say when he retired in 2011 he wanted to ‘enjoy home life, travelling, gardening and spending time with family’.
In recent years Neil enjoyed walking in the local area, family holidays, and travelling.
He has left behind his wife of 54 years Hayzen, three children and six grandchildren.
A family statement said, “Neil was known as a man of dignity, discretion and a great sense of humour. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather.”
Neil’s brother Reverend Robin Elphick remembers him as a ‘generous brother and gifted businessman’.
Louise, Neil’s daughter, said, “As a family, we are still in shock that he is gone and we all miss him dreadfully.
“We are lucky we have each other for comfort and hope the memorial service on June 24 gives us, all the family and his friends, some peace at such a sad time.
“We will honour and celebrate him, his achievements and his very well-lived life.”
A memorial service will be held on June 24 at 12.30pm at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Hellingly. Family say all are welcome.