Wednesday, 23 January 2019

New home required for models of village

MODELS depicting scenes around Benson have been offered to the parish council for public display.

They were created by Bernard John Coggins, who died in 2002, aged 80.

They are in now in the possession of his son Jim, who would like the models to go on public display.

Mr Coggins, who lives in Swallowfield, near Reading, offered them to the Bensington Society’s history group which asked the council to put them on show.

The three models show High Street from the Crown Inn pub and Crown Lane, a coal yard on the A407, where the Waterfront café now is, and Mr Coggins snr’s former home, Jasmine Cottage, in Old London Road, all in the mid-Thirties.

Peter Clarke, a member of the history group, told a council meeting that the models could be a “tremendous” asset to the village if they were properly displayed.

He said the parish hall would be the most sensible place to exhibit them, possibly in the entrance hall where more people would see them.

Council chairman Bill Pattison said: “I do have concerns for their welfare if they are not enclosed somewhere. I can’t see anywhere this parish council has which is safe. The only thing we can do is store them, which doesn’t meet the objective.

“It’s a long-term thing to take something on and I don’t want to commit future councils to something I might like now that other councils may not like in the future.

“The parish council would not own them, someone else would be responsible for them, but they would be on parish council property and that is always a worry to me.”

Councillor Teresa McTeague said she was opposed to displaying the models in the parish hall foyer because of the number of people using it.

Councillor John Sharman said he would like to see the models and will visit Mr Coggins.

Mr Coggins snr moved to Benson when he was age two and grew up in the village.

After serving in the Royal Oxfordshire Regiment during the Second World War, he joined the Oxfordshire Constabulary and served for 31 years.

He made the models after he retired and was living in Westleigh Drive, Sonning Common.

If you interested in offering the models a home, call Mr Coggins on (0118) 988 8607.

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