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BEN mourns the loss of former deputy chief executive David Prescott

BEN, the automotive industry charity, is saddened to announce that David Prescott, MBE, FCIS, former deputy chief executive, and long standing supporter, has died following a short battle with cancer.

In a career that spanned more than 50 years (36 of which were served with BEN), Prescott dedicated himself to improving the lives of others.

Having commenced his career with British Rail Workshops he swiftly moved into the care arena, firstly at the Railway Convalescent Homes and then at BEN. 

His appointment as the charity’s Assistant Secretary in 1969 was the beginning of a lifelong dedication to the automotive industry and its people. 

He became deputy chief executive and company secretary in 1974 and remained in the post until his retirement in December 2005.

Throughout his tenure at BEN he worked tirelessly, with the then executive, to drive the charity forward; was a fundamental force in developing many of the services offered today and, during this time, doubled the number of people BEN is able to support. 

He was instrumental in establishing three of BEN’s existing care centres and the first ever workplace day centre for the elderly in Coventry.

He worked for the betterment of the automotive community becoming a fellow of the FMI and serving as honorary treasurer right up until his death.

Developing the charity sector

He also had a keen interest in developing the charity sector and was involved with many organisations including South Bank University, as a visiting fellow in charities administration (1992-2002) and from 1995 was chairman of the Association of Charity Officers.

Additionally, he was a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators UK council and chaired the ICSA Benevolent Fund (1995-2000).

He was known for quietly working away behind the scenes in order to help shape BEN, effect change and provide guidance wherever it was needed and did so without expectation of reward or accolade. However, in 1994 his contribution was recognised when he received an M.B.E. in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to BEN. 

Prior to his retirement in 2005, and in celebration of the charity’s centenary, Prescott wrote and published ‘The Heart of an Industry – BEN’s 100 year story’, which remains a vital reference for many of BEN’s staff and supporters.

After his retirement his association with BEN remained and he continued to serve as a pension trustee as well as acting as a source of advice and guidance for a number of the team. 

Outside of his career he had many interests including supporting his local church, St. Mary’s in Wendover, where he was an active member and chairman of the ‘Friends of St. Mary’s’.

Outstanding advocate for the automotive industry

Speaking of the sad news, David Main, chief executive of BEN, commented: “David was a true bastion of BEN, an outstanding advocate for the automotive industry and its people, and a recognised authority on charity governance; yet despite all of these commitments David always found time for anyone seeking his counsel.

"He was a truly extraordinary man, who gave freely and graciously of both his time and expertise. 

"His boundless energy and passion saw him become a guiding light in developing the services and care we still offer today and everyone at BEN is extremely grateful for his phenomenal contribution.

"His loss will be felt throughout the organisation.” 

A committed family man, Prescott is survived by his beloved wife Ann, their children; Fiona, Laura, William and Mark and five grandchildren – Isaac, Toby, Katie, Sam and Dahlia.  Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.

Prescott's funeral will be held at 3.15pm on Friday November 8, 2013 at St Mary's Church, Church Lane, Wendover HP22 6NL. 

Afterwards the cremation will take place at 4.45 pm at Chilterns Crematorium, Amersham, HP7 0ND to which everyone is invited. 

Following the cremation there will be a reception at the Holiday Inn, Weston Turville, HP22 5QT. 

His family has asked that the dress code is not 'heavy mourning' and coloured ties are preferable

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