Chris Holmes

CHRIS Holmes, senior partner at Essex law firm Birkett Long, has retired after more than 45 years.Although Mr Holmes officially stepped down on June 1, he will continue with the firm as a consultant.

CHRIS Holmes, senior partner at Essex law firm Birkett Long, has retired after more than 45 years.

Although Mr Holmes officially stepped down on June 1, he will continue with the firm as a consultant.

He plans to use his extra time to work on penal reform and improve conditions for asylum seekers in the county, as well as giving more time to Macmillan Cancer Support and Essex Community Foundation.

Mr Holmes is well known not only for his high-profile legal career in family and divorce work, but also for his significant contribution to cancer relief charities, after losing many friends to the disease.


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He formed a small committee in 1972 called the National Society for Cancer Relief, now known as Macmillan Cancer Support. He became chairman of St Helena Hospice from 1980 to 1996 and then took up the reins as the Essex chairman of Macmillan Cancer Support, which has raised a staggering £5million through three large appeals. His chairmanship will continue on a part-time voluntary basis.

He has been a member of the University of Essex's development committee and audit committee for six years each, and a member of the University Court since 1990. From 1990 to 1998, he was a deputy circuit judge sitting as a recorder on the south eastern circuit.

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Since 2001, he has been a member of the grants and finance committees at the Essex Community Foundation, a body dedicated to developing local philanthropy.

In 2000, he received an OBE for his work with St Helena Hospice, and is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex.

Birkett Long's managing partner Philip George described Mr Holmes as “a lynchpin” in the firm, who had made “a contribution so huge that, quite simply, it cannot be put into words”.

“His leadership has helped us develop into one of the most progressive legal firms in the region and we're glad that he will continue to have an input,” he said.

Philip George remains managing partner, while Adrian Livesley will become chairman, and David Wisbey will head up the commercial department.

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