Friday, 12 August 2022

Christopher Quinton - December 16, 1948 - July 22, 2015

MY very dear friend Christopher Quinton, a local businessman and former South Oxfordshire district councillor for

MY very dear friend Christopher Quinton, a local businessman and former South Oxfordshire district councillor for Woodcote, died peacefully on July 22 in the Sue Ryder hospice, Nettlebed, after a long and courageous battle with cancer, aged 66.

Born in Johannesburg in 1948, he was brought up on a farm in what was then Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, attending boarding school in Bulawayo and subsequently St George’s College in Salisbury.

At the age of 18, he joined UTA, the French airline, working in air freight in Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and Botswana.

During the Seventies, while living in South Africa, he was very heavily involved with Junior Chamber International and became an executive vice-president, travelling extensively in South America on JCI business.

In 1986, he and his family moved to Woodcote so that their three sons could be educated at the Oratory School.

In 1988, Christopher and his wife Carol acquired a software company, Halarose. The couple turned Halarose into a flourishing business which continues to be one of the leading suppliers of electoral software to local authorities in the UK.

They sold the business to the management team, including their sons William and Thomas, in 2008.

Christopher went on to establish Quincom, an innovation investment company, which ended its operations in 2011. Describing himself as a “serial entrepreneur”, he had many other business interests and was president of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group for two years from 2004.

Closest to his heart, though, was serving the local community. He served two terms as district councillor for Woodcote from 2003 to 2007 and from 2011 to 2015.

In this role he gave help to many and, when he lost his seat after a rancorous election campaign, it didn’t stop him from helping people. It seems that, while he was out of office, his constituents came to realise that his help was never conditional on their votes. At the 2011 election he won in a landslide.

When I was headteacher at Langtree School trying to raise £50,000 for a specialist school bid, he gave support and encouragement, alerting local businesses and forming the Business Friends of Langtree School. We raised our target sum and I made a special friendship.

For more than a decade Christopher edited the much-loved village monthly magazine, the Woodcote Correspondent, recruiting me as chairman along the way.

He loved being editor and he was very good at it. Perhaps it helped to fulfil his boyhood dreams of being a journalist.

Later, as chairman of trustees, he recruited me as a trustee of ARCh Assisted Reading for Children in Oxfordshire, a charity organisation close to his heart, which he helped to set up and which trains volunteers to go into schools all over the county to help children who find reading  difficult.

He was chairman of the village hall management committee, president of the cricket club and a member of the Woodcote Volunteers, Woodcote medical practice’s patient participation group and the Woodcote neighbourhood plan steering group.

More than this, he was known over a wide area for his acts of individual kindness and his determination to support the underdog.

When some residents were having their weekend peace shattered by off-road motor cycles, he fought a one-man campaign, put up posters in the woods, forced the police into action and persuaded the landowners to build fences. He won that campaign and quite a few others too. Christopher was a man of very strong religious faith and political conviction, which caused him to resign from the Conservative Party and join UKIP in 2012.

He was unfazed by the criticism he received from some quarters, even publishing quite hurtful letters about himself to the Woodcote Correspondent, and retained the friendship of former colleagues at South Oxfordshire District Council.

He continued to serve his constituents with the same passion and commitment he had always shown, remaining in office until shortly before his death.

Christopher’s sociability and affability were as much a part of the man as were his strong religious and political convictions.

He was always self-effacing, never wanting any recognition for his acts of generosity, content to let his deeds do the talking, though he preferred to receive no recognition at all for his acts of generosity.

He loved good real ale, good wine and good food, but most of all he enjoyed the conviviality of the English pub, supporting Woodcote’s two pubs, with some help from me, in equal measure.

Christopher leaves behind Carol, his beloved wife of 46 years, his daughter Catherine, three sons, William, Thomas and Michael, and nine grandchildren. He will also be sorely missed by a multitude of friends and former colleagues.

His funeral took place at Christ the King Catholic Church in Woodcote, on Tuesday, July 28.

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