My housing obituary for Richard Farnell based on my tribute to him which is also on WordPress.
“Richard Farnell, who died on 23rd September 2018 probably did more for social housing over the last 30 years than anyone I know. Until recently he served as a non-executive and Chair on many boards with no reward except knowing that he was helping to provide one of our basic human needs, a decent home at a price that people could genuinely afford. He was one of the unsung heroes of social housing who are the real keepers of our social purpose and values. His passion for social housing was second to none.
Richard was a man of many titles. He was a Canon Theologian of Coventry Cathedral. He was also Chair of the Cathedral Council. He was the Emeritus Professor of Neighborhood Regeneration at Coventry University, where he taught urban studies and town planning for many years. He has served on many national and local committees. He was also the ex-Chair of Touchstone and Keynote, the founding Chair of Midland Heart and the first Chair of The Extra Care Charitable Trust.
During his stewardship at Touchstone Richard led one of the most innovatory housing associations in the UK. They pioneered ideas and projects that are still seen as ground breaking in social housing today. As Chair of Keynote he led what was to become one of the major inner city regeneration associations in the country. He led the merger of Keynote and Prime Focus to form Midland Heart, one of the largest and most successful housing and care organisations in the sector. All of these associations bore the imprint of his social values and purpose. He was by nature a quiet man, characterised by integrity and humility, qualities that are essential for true leadership. His passion for social justice was derived from his deep Christian faith.
I was proud to work with him as Chief Executive of Keynote and as Chief Operating Officer and eventually Chief Executive of Midland Heart. I can honestly say he was the best Chair I have worked with in social housing. I learned so much from him. He provided the support and direction that all leaders need to help them through the good times and the bad. All in social housing owe him so much. Literally thousands of people are living better lives in the Midlands and elsewhere because of his work.”