Monday, 17 January 2022

Former councillor who was tireless community campaigner

Former councillor who was tireless community campaigner

FORMER Reading Councillor, Annette Hendry (née Booler) passed away peacefully at the Sue Ryder home in Nettlebed on Wednesday, May 31, after a brave battle with cancer. She was 74.

Annette will be remembered as a tireless campaigner for the greater good of the community in Caversham, where she lived for more than 40 years, and Reading as a whole, where Annette had first made her home in Woodside Way, Shinfield, with her husband Alan in 1969.

After the birth of her children — Douglas (1969), Anne (1971) and Neill (1975) — and following a period living in Nairobi, Kenya, Annette settled into life in Blenheim Road, Caversham.

She then began a long and distinguished career selflessly working with a variety of organisations and in job roles where she was able to work with, support and help people as a teacher, social worker, volunteer, councillor, school governor and trustee member of the Reading Citizens Advice Bureau and Reading Dispensary Trust, among others.

Annette was born in Langwith, Notts, in January 1943 to Lesley and Joyce Booler and, following the end of the Second World War, the family moved to nearby Mansfield Woodhouse where Annette’s father took up a position as a chemist. After a very happy childhood alongside her two sisters Elaine and Judith and formative years spent in Mansfield, Annette was the first in her family to go to university at University College London where she read English language and literature.

Whilst in London, Annette met her future husband Alan and after a brief period of work as a teacher within London, together they made the move to Reading for Alan to work at ICL.

After teaching came children and Annette’s lifelong dedication to civic service began when Annette volunteered to teach English as a foreign language to new arrivals in Reading from the sub-continent. Once her family was established and the children a little older, Annette took on a full time volunteer role with Homestart in Reading as one of the founder organisers in 1984.

In this role working to support families in difficulty or crisis, Annette developed a lifelong interest in supporting families with compassion, support, friendship and practical help which encouraged her to return to university and begin a second degree in social work at Oxford Brookes University as a mature student in 1988.

After graduating, she took up a role at Bracknell Social Services in 1991 within the children and families division working with troubled teenagers, dysfunctional families and children in care, which whilst challenging, Annette found incredibly rewarding and life enriching.

After the death of her husband in 1996, Annette continued her work as a social worker and became more heavily involved in a variety of local charities and organisations.

However, many local people will most fondly remember Annette for her local political career, which began as a Liberal activist in the late Seventies in Caversham and later ended with her being elected as a Liberal Democrat councillor for Peppard Ward in Caversham Park Village, where she supported many local causes and always found time to listen to and help deal with local people’s issues and problems. In latter years, and following retirement, Annette’s life didn’t slow down as she took on more and more voluntary positions with the Reading Citizens Advice Bureau, Reading Dispensary Trust, as a long-term governor at Emmer Green Primary School, volunteer driver at Caversham Good Neighbours and supporter of a diverse number of more than 10 charities from Oxfam to Plan International.

Annette’s life was cruelly cut short by a cancer diagnosis which everyone thought she had beaten in 2014, but sadly and unexpectedly this returned at the end of 2016.

An incredibly compassionate, humane and patient person, Annette was also a person of immense grace and generosity, a true example of how to lead a selfless and dignified life.

Annette was fun, kind-hearted and had a special skill for making people in her presence feel at ease and relaxed.

A wordsmith, booklover, would-be pianist and enthusiastic traveller throughout her lifetime, Annette will be terribly missed by a great many friends, family and associates in Reading and well beyond its boundaries.

In accordance with Annette’s wishes there will be a celebration of her life, which will take place in due course.

For more information please contact the family via njhendry

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