Blind Veterans UK announces death of Chief Executive Robert Leader

19 March 2014 17:00

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Blind Veterans UK’s Chief Executive Robert Leader.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Blind Veterans UK's Chief Executive Robert Leader. Robert died peacefully at 6am today (Thursday 17 April), after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in January. He was 66 years old. 

Blind Veterans UK's Chairman, Tim Davis, said: "Robert Leader's death is a terrible loss for everyone at Blind Veterans UK.

"In his 13 years as Blind Veterans UK's Chief Executive, Robert Leader successfully took the organisation through a period of historic growth. During Robert's tenure, Blind Veterans UK changed its constitution, to enable the organisation to support ex Service men and women no matter what the cause of their sight loss. The organisation also opened two new national centres, in Sheffield and Llandudno, to supplement the work of its Brighton centre, and grew its community services, to adapt to the changing needs of our beneficiaries and develop the accessibility of our services. In the last three years, Robert led on the rebranding from St Dunstan's to Blind Veterans UK and helped launch the No One Alone campaign, which has enabled us to help a record number of ex Service personnel with severe sight loss.

"Robert will be remembered not only for his exceptional leadership and professional achievements, but also for his personal warmth, kindness and his lasting commitment to helping blinded ex Service men and women. He will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of working with and, indeed, knowing him."

Born in Sheffield, Robert Leader initially worked in the banking and the furniture industries, before moving to the public and voluntary sectors, where he spent most of his career. His many roles included serving as a Director of an NHS Acute Hospitals Trust and managing a residential home for the Leonard Cheshire Foundation. Prior to joining Blind Veterans UK, he spent four years as Head of the Health Service for British Forces Germany, based in Rheindahlen near Düsseldorf.

In addition to his role as Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Robert was Vice Chairman of the Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO) and Chairman of the British Members Council of the World Veterans Federation. He was also a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London (Representative DL for the London Borough of Ealing) and Upper Warden of the Worshipful Company of Horners (a City of London Livery Company).

Robert is survived by his wife, Sue, their two grown-up children and three grandchildren.

Blind Veterans UK is in the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive. To cover the recruitment period, Barry Porter, Director of Welfare Services, has been appointed interim Chief Executive. Chairman Tim Davis and the rest of Blind Veterans UK's trustees will be working closely with Barry Porter and the organisation's senior management team to ensure continuity of the charity's operations.