Son's tribute to father whose wartime experience as evacuee shaped his support for child refugees and orphans

The funeral will take place on Monday of a Bishop’s Stortford man who travelled the world in his job but made the town’s golf club the centre of his own world in retirement. Paul Chambury, who lived in Stortford, Rickling Green and Little Hallingbury for more than 50 years, died in Harlow’s Princess Alexandra five days before Christmas after a long illness. He was 81.

He made many friends through the community and his membership and subsequent captaincy in 2009 of Bishop’s Stortford Golf Club.

Bishop’s Stortford Golf Club members form a guard of honour for captain Paul Chambury in 2009 (26709913)

His only child, son Richard, said: “Golf was his life, especially in retirement. The social aspect of the golf club was really filled with a lot of good times and he was fully involved in the organisation of social events held at the clubhouse.” For 30 years until retirement, Paul commuted from Stortford to London, working first for Ladbrokes and then Hilton International as its insurance director.

He travelled extensively around the world, working on the safety and security of Ladbrokes’ casinos and racecourses and the Hilton International hotels.

When a natural disaster or significant event happened, he ensured that their buildings were rebuilt or refurbished. Significantly, he worked on the safety of New York’s World Trade Center, after a truck bomb was detonated under the North Tower in 1993, and in Japan after the Kobe earthquake struck in 1995. Born in May 1938 and growing up in north London during the Second World War, as a five-year-old boy he was evacuated to Northamptonshire in 1943.

Richard said: “This was a thoroughly traumatic experience, being put on a train with his brother Alan by his mother and departing St Pancras station for a place where the children were treated very badly locally by families and the schools they attended. He spoke about these incidents a great deal in later life, being invited into schools to speak about his experiences.”

As a result, Paul was especially interested in the helplessness of refugee children, often donating to ensure their safety and well-being. In the 1990s he became involved in the plight of Romanian orphans after the 1989 revolution in the eastern European country, where the orphanages were left full of traumatised children, with no funding or resources.

Paul was enlisted into one of the last intakes of National Service in 1957, serving in the British Army during the Malayan Emergency, based in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the Royal Army Dental Corps, serving attached to the Gurkha battalions. Richard said: “This was hugely influential in his life, with the inspirational Gurkha soldiers, how they fought bravely and were model soldiers and human beings, a structure he applied to his life subsequently. He kept this connection with his comrades for his whole life, often meeting at reunions.”

As well as only child Richard, Paul leaves his two granddaughters, Issy and Ruby, and an extended family of cousins, nieces and nephews across the UK.

His funeral will take place at Parndon Wood Crematorium, Harlow, on Monday (Jan 20) at 11.30am.

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