TRIBUTES have been paid to Richard Pacey, the former chief executive of a Ryedale-based charity who has died aged 65 after a long illness.

Mr Pacey was for many years at the helm of the Wilf Ward Family Trust which provides respite care in Yorkshire.

Mr Pacey was appointed to the position in 1988 by Wilf and Phyllis Ward, the founders of the trust, to oversee the development of its first respite service, Isabella Court in Pickering, for people with learning and physical disabilities.

Paying tribute to him, a trust spokesman said Richard “captured the essence of what families of disabled dependents needed and ensured that those undertaking respite had a joyous, fulfilling and happy stay”.

Under his stewardship, the trust grew significantly and by the time Mr Pacey retired in 2006, it was operating more than 70 service bases with more than 1,000 staff.

“He will be missed by staff, service users and families for his inspirational leadership and dedication towards meeting the needs of many hundreds of disabled people,” the spokesman said.

He was praised by the trust for his inspirational leadership and dedication towards meeting the need of many hundreds of disabled people.

Richard was awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to the community and was also a magistrate on the Scarborough bench. Since his retirement he had maintained his commitment to a range of voluntary activities including Welburn Hall School, Kirkbymoorside, where he was chairman of the board of governors, and the George Edward Smart Residential Homes at Scarborough where he chaired the trustees.

Mr Pacey died last Monday in St Catherine’s Hospice.

A private cremation service will be followed by a service of celebration of Mr Pacey’s life at St Andrew’s Church, Middleton, tomorrow (Thursday) at 1.30pm.

The family has requested donationations in lieu of flowers for Macmillan Cancer Support and St Andrew’s Church.