A RETIRED businessman who has provided voluntary leadership and support to multiple Island organisations has been made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.
Jim Hopley, who has worked with bodies such as Cheshire Home, Genuine Jersey, the Jersey Disability Partnership and the Island’s Chamber of Commerce, was honoured for services to the community in the 2022 list.
Mr Hopley, who hails from the south-west of England, moved to Jersey in 1979 and took over the running of the Channel Islands Co-operative Society, serving as chief executive until his retirement in 2011.
Although he had undertaken some voluntary work during his time with the Co-op, such as serving as an honorary police officer in St Peter, Mr Hopley threw himself into work in the voluntary sector at around the time of his retirement.
‘My first wife, Janet, died 12 years ago, and the people at Jersey Cheshire Home were very supportive at the time,’ he said. ‘In 2011 I felt it was the right time to retire from the Co-op, and the first call was from Cheshire Home to see whether I would be prepared to join them – and I’m still there.’
Mr Hopley’s experience in the retail sector led to him becoming involved in other organisations such as Shopmobility, which provides scooters and wheelchairs for Islanders who are either permanently or temporarily disabled.
Joining the council of Jersey Chamber of Commerce was the next move for Mr Hopley, and he took on the chairmanship of the chamber’s environment committee.
In partnership with John Pinel, Mr Hopley then headed the Jersey Voluntary and Community Sector Partnership.
He said: ‘We were funded by the government and worked to improve links with voluntary and community organisations. We were in the role of being a critical friend, but after we got a bit too critical they stopped funding us.’
The Jersey Disability Partnership began its work soon afterwards and Mr Hopley continues to serve as honorary chair.
Genuine Jersey has been another important part of Mr Hopley’s service to the community. He has been honorary chairman of the management committee as Genuine Jersey has grown significantly in size and impact over recent years.
Mr Hopley has also been a leading figure behind the Jersey National Park, and has also worked with the Jersey Energy Forum and the Community Action Group – almost reaching the point where it is simpler to list those bodies that he isn’t involved with.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of community organisations, making the last two years busy ones.
‘There was some great work carried out through the Community Action Group to help people during the early stages of Covid. Not by me – I just sat in the chair – but we were able to work with government and other organisations to get support to those who needed it,’ he said.
After a decade of commitment across such a broad spectrum, Mr Hopley’s service is in his blood, although at the age of 73 he is looking to scale back his involvement. He said: ‘Jersey’s been good to me, and since I retired from the Co-op it’s been good to put something back in.
‘I think there comes a time when it can be unhealthy if you hang around, and organisations need new leadership, but I’m not just going to evaporate.’
Being put forward for the MBE was a total surprise, Mr Hopley added, and in accepting it he was quick to acknowledge the work of others.
‘This award is about all those people I’ve had the honour of working with, and I’m pleased that between us we’ve been able to make a difference,’ he said.
Mr Hopley also paid tribute to the support of his second wife, Rachelle, and others in his family: his daughter Emma, grand-daughter Phoebe and stepsons Robert and William.