Remembering Peter Orpen

Friends Trustee Peter Orpen sadly died in April 2020 with Covid-19. Our Fundraiser Katy Wells knew Peter from many walks of life and has written this tribute:


Peter (above, far right) was one of those people who took a genuine interest in others, particularly young people, and he clearly encouraged and inspired many. In spite of all he achieved as a successful company director, he was humble, considerate and kind.

Having grown up in and around Brighton, he was proud of his city and was a great ambassador for it, taking great pleasure in showing overseas visitors his favourite places and bearing gifts of local produce (particularly wine!) when visiting abroad.

He took the time to get to know people he became acquainted with and to find out what interested them. One of the things we enjoyed together was going to Wine Society tastings and I was delighted to welcome Peter to Court Garden Vineyard for a tour last year with two of his international students.

I met Peter when he joined the Board of the English Language Centre in Hove. His parents had set up the school in the 1970s (when he was a young hippy!) He very quickly became Chair and helped to strengthen ELC's position as a highly regarded provider of English language teaching. It gave him great pleasure when ELC received the highest possible marks from the British Council following their inspection last year.

Peter was forward-thinking, egalitarian and diplomatic. Therefore a great addition to the Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals Board of Trustees in 2017. Although his time as a Trustee was brief, he made a positive impact, focusing on issues of governance.

I feel lucky to be able to call Peter Orpen a friend. The news of his passing was shocking and I still can't believe that he won't hop on the bus to our next Board meeting. He was taken far too early and I'm sure he would want all his good work to be continued into the future, particularly the Zanzibar Schools Project which he always spoke so passionately about.

Peter brought people together and I very much hope that we can all work together to keep everything he believed in alive.

Our thoughts are with his wife, Heidi and his two children at this time.

About the author

Katy Wells has been a long standing supporter of our charity and is now employed as our Fundraiser. Email Katy here.

Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals

Working with the NHS across Brighton & Hove by raising money for equipment and services to support patient well-being.