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Charity stalwart bids farewell after three decades as chairman

PUBLISHED: 11:37 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 13 September 2019

Eddie Doran has stepped down after 30 years as chairman of Swaffham and District Mental Health Association and the Merle Boddy Centre. Picture: Matthew Usher

Eddie Doran has stepped down after 30 years as chairman of Swaffham and District Mental Health Association and the Merle Boddy Centre. Picture: Matthew Usher

© Archant Norfolk 2015

The chairman of a charity providing mental health support has stepped down after 30 years in the role.

James Dean (left), incoming chairman of Swaffham and District Mental Health Association, presents outgoing chairman Eddie Doran with an honorary life president certificate. Picture: Ian PilcherJames Dean (left), incoming chairman of Swaffham and District Mental Health Association, presents outgoing chairman Eddie Doran with an honorary life president certificate. Picture: Ian Pilcher

Eddie Doran has dedicated much of his life to Swaffham and District Mental Health Association, helping it to become a recognised and respected organisation.

During his tenure, Mr Doran oversaw the successful growth of the charity's Merle Boddy Centre, a social day care service for people in the Swaffham community who live with a host of disabilities and mental ill-health.

Over the years an array of improvements have been made to the centre's management, facilities and amenities, ensuring staff can provide clients with the best possible care.

Having elected to pass on the mantle of chairman following three decades of tireless service, Mr Doran is leaving the charity in fine shape.

The Merle Boddy Centre in Swaffham provides support for people living with disabilities and mental ill-health. Picture: Matthew UsherThe Merle Boddy Centre in Swaffham provides support for people living with disabilities and mental ill-health. Picture: Matthew Usher

"I moved to Swaffham in 1988 and met a group who were interested in looking after people with mental health problems," said the 86-year-old.

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"I thought that was something I could get involved with and something the town needed. If we didn't do it, then who would've done?

"I'm delighted that I've been able to do it for so long because not everybody has that kind of opportunity. You do a job and you want to do it to the best of your ability - that's life."

Eddie Doran, outgoing chairman of Swaffham and District Mental Health Association and Merle Boddy Centre. Picture: SubmittedEddie Doran, outgoing chairman of Swaffham and District Mental Health Association and Merle Boddy Centre. Picture: Submitted

At the AGM of the Merle Boddy Centre on September 5, long-term director James Dean officially took over as chairman and will look to deliver a degree of continuity in his new leadership role.

He is joined by three new volunteer directors - Sue Pilcher, Stan Sole and Ian Pilcher - who have expressed a determination to keep the facility at the forefront of care in the community.

Mr Doran's departure was marked with the presentation of a plaque to signify his appointment as honorary life president, guaranteeing an ongoing affiliation with the charity.

"Technically I retired 30 years ago after spending 40 years working for Ford Motor Company, but I'm 86 now and it's about time I retired properly and put my feet up."

"It's been a great journey and I'm just pleased we have served the community because, after all, that is our objective."

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