The founder of a charity that has gone on to help thousands of people affected by drug and alcohol abuse has died.

In 1984, Peter Farley and his wife Margaret founded The Matthew Project.

Originally rolled out to secondary schools in Norfolk, it also offered an in-person counselling service in Norwich city centre.

It has since gone on to help people live lives free from substance misuse while providing support to young people, veterans, professionals, people in recovery, and the family and carers affected.

Norwich Evening News: Peter Farley, founder of the Matthew ProjectPeter Farley, founder of the Matthew Project (Image: Archant)

Mr Farley’s early career saw him work as a police detective in the Midlands and Hertfordshire. He was also a former headmaster at Sheringham Court School which was a residential school for boys who were underperforming in education.

He went on to travel extensively with the Matthew Project, speaking and supporting others in places including Kenya, Latvia, Portugal, Russia and South Africa, and attended conferences in Florida, Sweden and Spain. He also visited London’s Number 10 when David Cameron was Prime Minister, Highgrove in Prince Charles’s time, and met the late Queen Elizabeth II at Sandringham.

Following his retirement from his day-to-day work with the charity, he was honoured to become its patron.

Mr Farley was also known for his work with Care for Children, a charity that pioneered family placement care for abandoned children in China as an alternative to institutional care. He travelled to China several times to raise awareness and money for the charity by walking the Great Wall of China with his friend and its founder, Robert Glover.

Later in life he worked for the Trusted Charity Mark (formerly known as PQASSO) inspecting and auditing charities both large and small and helping them to get accreditation.

Closer to home he was a valued member of the Sheringham Town Council and one of his more recent achievements was to help establish and raise funds for the Sheringham Men’s Shed run by the Lighthouse Church for people to find community through workshops, arts and crafts, computer classes and coffee mornings.

Norwich Evening News: Peter Farley and his wife MargaretPeter Farley and his wife Margaret (Image: Supplied)

Paying tribute, his family said: “It brought Peter so much joy to be able to help so many people and it brings his family great comfort and pride that his legacy lives on through the work that the charity continues to do.

“Peter was an exceptional man who led an inspirational life. He was a genuinely kind-hearted person who strived to help others in any way that he could.

“He will be remembered personally by many whom he helped - often putting the concerns of others in front of his own to provide care, support and opportunities for growth.

“He will also be fondly remembered by many for his cheeky sense of humour.”

Away from his working life, Mr Farley was a published writer and poet, keen flower photographer, and loved good food and a night around the chimenea talking and looking at the stars. He also loved to travel and would learn how to say ‘hello, goodbye and thank you’ in whatever language he was confronted with.

His family supported him during his last weeks and shared many special moments that included a visit from his sister, Pauline.

Peter John Farley, of Garden Road, Sheringham, died on September 29. As well as his wife, he leaves behind his children Caroline, Mark, Sarah and Rebekah and their respective partners, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and his cat Misty.

A private cremation will take place on Tuesday, October 11. All are welcome to attend a service of thanksgiving at St Peter’s on Church Street in the town at 11am with a wake afterwards at the Lighthouse Community Church on Cromer Road from 12.30pm onwards.

Donations in his memory to be made to the Matthew Project via

The Matthew Project continues to support and educates people impacted by drug and alcohol related issues.