Tributes paid to Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind’s former director John Child who has died

John Child, former director, of the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind. Picture: Denise B

John Child, former director, of the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant copyright 2011

The man who led one of Norfolk's oldest charities for two decades has died.

John Child was director of the Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) from 1992 until his retirement in 2012.

During his time as director the charity saw a huge expansion in the support it offers to visually-impaired people across the county.

Mr Child joined the NNAB after a 30-year career in the army. Born in Banham in 1941, he was raised at Cromer and educated at Beeston, Gresham's, and Norwich City College, and later Bristol University.

Joining the army in 1962, he saw active service in Aden and the Radfan as a young officer in the Royal Anglian Regiment, followed by a posting to newly federated Malaysia's Police Field Force in Borneo

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His subsequent service saw him take up various regimental appointments, including in Northern Ireland, alongside staff jobs at the Ministry of Defence and with the British Army of the Rhine. In the mid-1980s, he went to Hong Kong and then Nepal with the Brigade of Gurkhas.

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He left the army in 1992 and moved back to Norfolk.

During his 20-years at the helm of the NNAB he saw two major developments: the opening of the Bradbury Activity Centre in Norwich by the Queen, following a £1.3 million fundraising campaign, and the extension of the charity's residential home.

Current NNAB chairman of trustees Kit Cator described Mr Child as 'a great inspiration'.

'John was passionate about helping Norfolk's visually-impaired community to lead a full and independent life,' said Mr Cator. 'He was excellent at raising the profile of the NNAB, and expanding the scope of what the organisation was able to offer right across the county.

'He was a charming man, a great inspiration, and someone who encouraged and believed in people, whether visually-impaired people or NNAB staff and volunteers. He was really passionate about his work and the NNAB, and introduced many activities for the visually-impaired community.'

Following his retirement from the NNAB in 2012, Mr Child took up a part-time role at Norwich Cathedral where he took great pleasure in introducing visitors from across the world to the landmark. Always active in his local community, he was a trustee of the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum, the Friends of the Norwich Museums, and the Norwich Cathedral Trust.

Mr Child was awarded the MBE for his services to the visually impaired in Norfolk in the 2011 New Year's Honours List. He leaves behind his wife, Helen, and three children, Tim, Simon, and Beth, as well as ten grandchildren.

A Service of Thanksgiving to mark the life of John Child, to which all are welcome, will be held at Norwich Cathedral at noon on Friday May 26.

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