Charity 'Pioneer' from Saffron Walden dies

PUBLISHED: 12:45 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 21:53 31 May 2010

A MAN who was described as a pioneer in the field of treatment for drug addiction and who worked tirelessly to help people with mental health issues, has died aged 63. Brian Arbery, the owner of Ickleton Antiques on Gold Street, Saffron Walden, died a

A MAN who was described as a "pioneer" in the field of treatment for drug addiction and who worked "tirelessly" to help people with mental health issues, has died aged 63.

Brian Arbery, the owner of Ickleton Antiques on Gold Street, Saffron Walden, died at the wheel of his car in Cambridge last Tuesday (August 4). He is believed to have suffered a stroke.

The family have said they are devastated by his death and described Mr Arbery as a man who was "very happy and lived his life to the full".

Collecting antiques, postcards and military memorabilia was his hobby, but Mr Arbery's real passion lay in helping people with addictions to turn their lives around.

As chief executive of charity Adapt, which he founded in the 1990s, Mr Arbery was responsible for the two largest rehabilitation centres in the country.

Colleague for more than 10 years at Adapt, Amanda Lea, said: "He helped a lot of people to access treatment and he specialised in rehabilitating people who were marginalised in the community.

"He gave a lot of people opportunities and I wouldn't be doing what I am now, which is running a treatment centre in Weston-super-Mare, if it wasn't for him."

Father-of-four Mr Arbery grew up in Enfield, but moved to Saffron Walden in the 1970s where he spent the rest of his life. He was living in Little Walden Hall, Little Walden, at the time of his death.

Through his charity work he met Princess Diana who he spoke to about the treatment of people suffering from addiction and gave her a tour of one of his centres.

He spent much of his life working for charitable organisations and was also instrumental in establishing social care organisation Turning Point into a national charity.

"He was very altruistic and had a passion for helping people," said Ms Lea. "He hated injustice and always fought for the underdog. He will be missed by a lot of people."

Mr Arbery was travelling in his Land Rover Discovery in Cranleigh Close, Trumpington, when he died. His car hit a stationary Audi A3 before continuing through several gardens and coming to a stop. He is survived by his three daughters and one son.

A funeral will be held at St Mary's Church, Saffron Walden, at 11.30am on Tuesday August 18. Anyone is welcome to attend, but family flowers only. Donations can be made to the Royal British Legion through funeral directors H Peasgood & Son (01799 523314).

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