Robert Scaife, former Royal British Legion chairman

Robert Scaife, who has died at 82
Robert Scaife, who has died at 82
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Charles Robert Scaife, who has died at 82, was a stalwart of the Royal British Legion and the first national serviceman to become its national chairman.

Born in Birstall and residing in Liversedge, Mr Scaife, who was known as Robert, held the post from 1985-9.

It was in 1958 that he was demobbed from the RAF after completing his National Service. That was on the Wednesday, and on the Friday he became a member of the Birstall branch of the Legion. He went on to serve as membership secretary, standard bearer, treasurer, chairman and president of the branch.

He was also South and West Yorkshire county chairman and then president before taking up his national role, for which he was made a CBE in the in 1988 Queen’s Birthday Honours. The Legion’s citation said his contribution to improving the lives of ex-service personnel and their families had been “inspirational”.

His duties took him around the world, accompanied by his wife, Margaret, and he was made a member of Australia’s Returned and Services League.

A Healey School pupil, he trained as a joiner and cabinet maker, in later years working for Batley and Spen Council, moving into an office job as work study manager for Spen Council and later Kirklees Council.

A long serving magistrate, he sat on the bench at Dewsbury and latterly Huddersfield courts.

He was a Queen’s Scout in his younger days, and later became involved in the work of the War Widows’ Association, for whom he and Margaret escorted women to see the graves of their loved ones for the first time.

He is survived by Margaret and daughters Yvonne and Jacky, and their families.