Charity champion calls it a day

EXMOUTH'S charity champion Lionel Howell has announced he is to step down as chairman of the town's 531st Tribute Fund and close the fund-raising side of the charity.

EXMOUTH'S charity champion Lionel Howell has announced he is to step down as chairman of the town's 531st Tribute Fund and close the fund-raising side of the charity.Over the years, Mr Howell has campaigned tirelessly to raise funds to erect memorials in Phear Park to honour ex-servicemen and those who have lost their lives for others - including the victims of the New York 9/11 terrorist attacks. But now poor health has forced Mr Howell, 70, of Cheshire Road, to stand down as chairman and - because no one else is willing to take on the role - close the charitable, fund-raising side of the charity.Mr Howell will retain the fund's name to enable him to hold an annual service of Remembrance, a 9/11 service and organise a sponsored walk to raise funds to pay for the upkeep of the existing memorials.And the Halifax account will remain open with any donations going towards the upkeep of the memorials and the two annual services.Mr Howell said the charity's last official fund-raiser would be this year's 65th D-Day anniversary three-day event in June, which includes the centenary of Phear Park and the dedication of a memorial to the Devonshire Regiment.Mr Howell said the coach trips would continue this year if interest was strong, but the fund would close its books from June 21 2009. "I always intended to stand down this year, but due to deteriorating health and the fact that no one wishes to take on my job, I am closing the charitable side of the fund," said Mr Howell. "I shall miss all of it - the constant catching up with people and the fun we used to have and the daft things we did to raise the money."I had a fall last November and I haven't recovered from it. It's knocked the stuffing out of me. For the sake of my own health, I am wrapping it up. Health-wise I don't think I can keep it up, I don't feel I can carry on with it and I am going to call it a day."I can't even do a sponsored walk. I haven't got the energy."We have raised a lot of money and done a lot of good things. We have helped a lot of people who needed help."I would like to say a huge thank you for all the support people have given since 1997. Because of the generosity of Exmouth, we have raised a massive �69,000 for the community - plus the costs of the memorials, which have amounted to �15,500."I hope people keep supporting their ex-service associations. They need it more than ever in these very uncertain times. And I hope people continue to support the D-Day service and 9/11 service each year.


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