Tributes paid to well-known Eastbourne Rotary Club member

A former chairman of Eastbourne Round Table and founding member of Rotary Club Eastbourne AM died earlier this month.

Chris Purcell died on January 4. Born in Banstead in 1955, Chris went on to attend Epsom College and used to run cross country across the Seven Sisters in competition with Eastbourne College.

In 1985 he moved to Eastbourne and worked in the NHS department of health.

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Chris was a member of the community group Round Table and charity group 41 Club for more than 20 years and during this time he was chairman and secretary.

Chris received two Paul Harris Fellowship Awards. SUS-220118-095305001

He was also a founding member of the Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM and had a passion for youth services as chair of the club’s Youth Committee.

A spokesperson for the club said, “He was instrumental in overseeing the Interact club at Ratton School, helping young people develop confidence and improve the lives of others. He assisted Interact in helping them arrange their fundraising events. He also arranged exchange visits for children and adults with Rotary Club Pirmasens in Germany.”

Chris also worked alongside Melanie Adams and all Eastbourne Rotary clubs to organise the town’s annual Christmas Tree of Light and was very involved with the club’s annual Lighthouse Challenge and numerous other fundraising events.

Once he retired from the NHS, Chris went on to retrain as a psychotherapist to provide a local counselling service. He volunteered with CRUSE Bereavement Support and others in need in the community. He was also a supporter of Eastbourne Survivors.

Tributes to Chris Purcell. SUS-220118-095316001

Chris had a strong relationship supporting SASBAH (Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus) – he helped organise weekend breaks for service users.

The Rotary Club spokesperson said, “He had a great sense of humour and was always there to support others and passionate in maintaining the club traditions. He was very involved in their charitable work including raising substantial amounts for many local charities.”

In recognition of his years of service, Chris received two Paul Harris Fellowship Awards, the highest accolade available to a Rotarian – one for his youth work and the other for the Christmas Tree of Light.

In his spare time, Chris enjoyed attending music festivals and travelling in his camper van. When he wasn’t away, he could be found out on his sailing dinghy, down on the allotment, practising yoga or walking along the promenade.

The spokesperson said, “The life and soul of any party, Chris will be remembered as a man who impacted many lives. Wife Fran, son Adam and daughter Lisa and wider family and friends will sorely miss his love, laughter and counsel.”