Mike Wavell

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Mike Wavell


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Mike Wavell with his wife Rosemary


Mike Wavell was a successful businessman who succeeded in life against the odds and became a prominent politician, as well as serving Jersey in many other ways


Obituary

From The Independent 21 April 2011

Michael Adam Wavell, nurse, politician and charity fundraiser: born St Helier, Jersey 7 February 1947; married 1987 Rosemary Ellis (one daughter); died St Lawrence, Jersey 16 April 2011.

There was no money for Michael Wavell to study to be a doctor, as he wanted, so he qualified as a nurse. As a nurse he played a major role in his native Jersey, as a businessman, politician, charity fundraiser, hotel owner, and promoter and lover of music.

From a baby Wavell was brought up happily by two sisters who fostered Jersey children, Lil Mignot and Maud Cooper. After schooling in St Helier Boys School, he went to the Guest Hospital, Dudley, where he quickly overcame the cultural shock of mainland life and the Black Country accent.

In 1965 he and two others were the first male students at the preliminary training school. He bought an old car which female student nurses found useful as a taxi. But when he returned to Jersey he discovered it was not ready for a male State Registered general nurse. He was told that the only way he could get a nursing post on the island was to qualify as a mental nurse. This he did at Longrove Hospital,in Epsom, Surrey, where he also met his future wife, Rosemary. And with his new qualification he was accepted as a nurse at St Saviour's psychiatric hospital, Jersey.

Businesses

Realising that there was a demand for private nursing, he set up the Guardian Nursing Agency. There followed the Guardian Nursing Home, the Guardian Medical and Surgical Supply Centre and a sophisticated private medical centre.

His entrepreneurial ventures included a hotel. When a coastal public footpath near this suffered erosion he repaired it – and when he learned that development threatened it further along the coast, he bought the land to preserve it.

A worshipping Methodist, Wavell purchased the Aquila Road chapel (dating from 1839) which had become redundant and presented it as a venue for a youth club and social centre. A lover of music, he provided the Chateau Vermont, St Saviour, as the headquarters for the Jersey Academy of Music. He was also responsible for bringing distinguished soloists to the island.

Wavell was quick to recognise the significance of the outbreak of Aids on the island. A key figure in Jersey's substance-misuse strategy, in 2000 he was awarded the National Rolleston Award, commemorating Sir Humphrey Rolleston, the president of the Royal College of Physicians who chaired the UK committee of morphine and heroin addiction in 1926. Wavell was also nursing officer for the Jersey St John's Ambulance Brigade.

Honorary service

For centuries each parish in Jersey has had its honorary police force. Wavell entered public service as an honorary policeman and served for nine years, six of them as a centenier. And for 18 years he sat as a member of the States of Jersey, the island's parliament.

He was a controversial and constructive politician, though not an eloquent one. He backed the setting up and maintenance of an Isle of Jersey Territorial Field Unit as a contribution the island could usefully make to the UK's defence forces. As chairman of the Defence Committee, Wavell sorted out the chaos which people in Jersey used to find themselves in with the annual renewal of their vehicle registration. Replacing a tax disc with an insurance disc eliminated the queues.

On leaving front-line politics, Wavell concentrated on charitable work. He and his wife had adopted a daughter, Evangeline, in Sri Lanka, and when the tsunami struck in 2004 he help set up and chaired the charity Jersey Side by Side, to help rebuild the country's infrastructure.

Tributes

From BBC website, 2011

Tributes have been paid to a former States of Jersey politician who has died. Mike Wavell, who was a deputy in St Saviour and the president of Jersey's old Defence committee, has died at the age of 64. He had been ill for some time with cancer.

In 2005 Mr Wavell helped set up the Side by Side charity, of which he was a chairman, to help people affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in Asia. The charity has continued to help victims of other natural disasters around the world, including the flooding in Madeira, where he helped foster links with Jersey.

Acting chairman, Jean Le Maistre, served in the States alongside him and said the island has lost someone who made a difference to many people.

'Enthusiasm and friendship'

Former Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache paid tribute to the work Mr Wavell did on Jersey's behalf.

"He was one of the first to realise the importance of community relations in the island and he was one of the first to build up links with Madeira.
"I went there with him and his family on an official visit and it was clear that his enthusiasm and his friendship towards the Madeiran people was very much appreciated."

His wife Rosemary said:

"Mike always said he was a simple Jersey boy and Jersey is where he belonged and where his heart has always been. He was very proud of Jersey and is one of those people who always made negative things positive."
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