Ian Plaistowe, Chairman of The Abbeyfield Society, has been awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list.

Ian who was recognised for his services to elderly care and education, has been Chairman of Abbeyfield since July 2015, having been a member of the Group Audit Committee for the previous nine years, including six as the Committee Chairman. His involvement with Abbeyfield follows a distinguished professional career as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen.

As Chairman of Abbeyfield, Ian has overseen a very challenging period in it's history. Following a difficult period of restructuring, his initial task as Chairman was to encourage a stronger relationship between The Abbeyfield Society and our 160+ Member Societies. He has also built real trust with our International Members, frequently travelling around the UK and overseas to meet residents, trustees, staff and volunteers. As a result, the Abbeyfield Family strongly maintains and shares the values established in 1956 by Richard Carr-Gomm.

Ian also faced the difficult task of sensitively managing an unexpected change in the organisation’s leadership while he was Chairman, when our former Chief Executive was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He played a key role in driving Abbeyfield forward through this period, and oversaw the appointments of two interim Chief Executives, followed by David McCullough on a permanent basis in August 2017.

David said, “Since I have known him and for years beforehand, Ian has gone far above and beyond the call of duty, displaying outstanding commitment and leadership of behalf of the thousands of residents, volunteers and staff in the Abbeyfield Family.

"After 14 years of service, he shows no signs of slowing down and exudes the same drive and passion for the wellbeing of older people as he has ever done. With our recent strategic review and this exciting and significant period of change, Ian has helped to begin a new chapter in our history. Abbeyfield owes a huge debt of gratitude to Ian for his energy, wisdom and invaluable experience, which he shares generously in service of our charity’s current and future success. I know that Ian would not have sought this honour but I am delighted that his voluntary service has been recognised."

Ian follows in the footsteps of the famous humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton, who received an MBE in 1983 for his work in establishing Abbeyfield homes in the UK.

Upon receiving his own OBE, he said:

"I am delighted and humbled to receive this great honour, which I accept on behalf of my fellow trustees, our fantastic staff and volunteer teams, and all of our residents, who are the reason we are here. I have greatly enjoyed my 14 years with Abbeyfield and look forward to being part of the Abbeyfield Family for many years to come."