A hospice chairman who helped save it from closure when it was in dire financial straits and turned into a model of excellence has announced he is stepping down in the autumn.

Trefor Jones said he had enjoyed “seven wonderful years” at the helm of St Kentigern Hospice in St Asaph.

He will be succeeded by Jim O’Toole, Managing Director of the Port of Mostyn.

Mr Jones said: “I have decided to step down and let someone else lead the hospice into the new era. Jim joined our board of trustees a couple of months ago and I believe he is the perfect man to take St Kentigern forward over the exciting times ahead.

“After spending a lifetime in industry I know the importance of succession planning. I’m a great believer in the merits of a seamless transition, so I will work with Jim over the coming months until our annual meeting in the autumn when I officially step down. We hope to make it as smooth and undisruptive a transfer as possible.”

St Kentigern is an eight-bed in-patient hospice which has an additional 15 day therapy places and provides end of life care and symptom control for those with life-threatening and terminal illness. It relies on the generous donations of the public for more than 80 per cent of its income.

After seven years at the helm Mr Jones has seen hospice move from crunch point financially to a position where it can pay day to day running costs and also make ambitious plans for expansion.

St Kentigern Hospice chief executive, Iain Mitchell, said Mr Jones’s contribution to the hospice had been exceptional.

He said: “We will be sorry to see Trefor go, but his input will never be forgotten. The entire community will be unstintingly grateful to him for spearheading the turnaround of the hospice from the brink of closure several years ago to the outstanding facility it is today.

We wish him well in the future.”

Mr Jones, a widely respected public figure and former Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, said:

“I am extremely proud of the way people rallied to help this wonderful hospice when it was in need and they are continuing to do so.

“I’m also proud of the first rate staff and dedicated team of volunteers who are all determinedly helping St Kentigern Hospice move towards a bright future.

“This is an invaluable facility, a safe haven which has been supporting the seriously and terminally ill and their families through extremely difficult times for more than two decades.”

The hospice, which marked its 22nd anniversary last month, has recently announced plans for a major extension, paving the way for it to increase the number of beds from eight to 12.

Mr Jones added: “I will be leaving the hospice in a secure and happy place. I’ve overseen our progress to the point where we are now ready and have the resources to expand. But I believe it’s time for someone else to see that expansion through.

“I’m confident Jim will bring a new injection of energy and enthusiasm, coupled with the managerial experience to steer St Kentigern through the next important stage of its ongoing development.”

Mr Jones who lives in St Asaph with his wife, Shirley, has three grown up children, Michael, Anna and Julie, and six grandchildren.

Having grown up in Rhyl, he became an apprentice at De Havillands – now Airbus – in Broughton and worked there for 11 years before joining Pilkingtons, St Asaph, where he climbed the ranks to become Chairman and Chief Executive of Pilkington Optronics.

He was awarded a CBE in 1998 and in 2012 he became a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, an honour conferred by the sovereign for services to the Queen or other members of the Royal family. He also attended the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee service at St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Mr Jones has always been active in public life, having held the office of Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd for 13 years. Among other posts he was a member of the Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board, a member of Clwyd Health Authority, chairman of Celtec, the Training and Enterprise Council for North Wales and vice-chairman of Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust.

He hopes to spend more time with his family on stepping down as St Kentigern Hospice Chairman, and enjoy ‘a little bit of relaxation’. But it will not be all putting his feet up as he will still be taking an interest in local community affairs and continuing in his role as Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, Wrexham.