Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Memorial bench to village stalwart

A MEMORIAL bench has been unveiled in honour of a Benson parish councillor who gave 45 years service to the village

A MEMORIAL bench has been unveiled in honour of a Benson parish councillor who gave 45 years' service to the village.

Don Fletcher, who lived in Westfield Road, died in April, aged 86.

A former teacher at Fir Tree Junior School in Wallingford, he was chairman of the parish council from 1975 to 1980.

He was also involved in the distribution of the Benson Bulletin, helped set up Benson Youth Club and was a member of the Benson and Ewelme branch of the Royal British Legion.

The bench, which is in the garden of the Millstream Day Centre, was paid for the council, the Benson Bulletin, the Legion and parishioners.

Mr Fletcher's widow Jo, to whom he was married for 64 years, performed the official unveiling by cutting a ribbon on the bench in front of her son David and daughter-in-law Carol, who were visiting from Florida.

The bench has a plaque with Mr Fletcher's name and a quote from Albert Einstein which reads: "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." Mrs Fletcher said: "I'm going to say a very big thank-you to all who have contributed to this. I'm sure he would be very, very proud to accept it. I think it's marvellous.

"I shall be down here for my coffee morning every Thursday and I shall be out there, unless it's pouring with rain of course, drinking coffee and thinking of him."

Mr Fletcher jnr said the family was honoured to have a memorial, adding: "It particularly means a lot to my mother, having lived here almost 50 years.

"The quotation describes my father because he spent his life here giving so much to the community through so many local organisations and the parish council.

"He would be so proud. He never looked for recognition during his life, he was selfless."

Mr Fletcher jnr and his wife are visiting the UK for two weeks and the parish council timed the ceremony to coincide with their visit. Parish councillor Elizabeth Leppard said: "Don was a great help to me when I was clerk back in 1988. He was so helpful. He was the rock of the village."

Councillor Pat Peers, who served with Mr Fletcher for 25 years, said: "He was a pillar of strength on the parish council."

Former parish councillor Ian Leppard said: "On the parish council we always referred to him as the â??legal eagle' because he always knew the things we could or couldn't do. He's greatly missed."

Meanwhile, Benson Parish Council is inviting entries for two awards.

The Don Fletcher Community Award is presented to the individual who has made a significant contribution to the parish.

The Bob Griffiths Trophy is awarded to a youth group or team that has achieved particular success or benefited the parish during 2014/2015.

If you would like to make a nomination for either award, send an email to bensonparish.council@virgin.net or drop a note of no more than 200 words saying why the individual deserves the award into the parish office. The deadline for nominations is March 31.

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