Wednesday, 06 July 2022

Plaque to honour woman who saved village library

Plaque to honour woman who saved village library

A PLAQUE has been unveiled in memory of a woman who saved Sonning Common library.

Cecily Hunt, who died in 2020, started the Friends of Sonning Common Library in 1998 when it was threatened with closure.

She led a successful campaign to keep it open as well as move it to larger premises.

The library is now located at Sonning Common Primary School in Grove Road and is open to the community except on Tuesdays when it is used solely by the pupils.

The plaque was unveiled by Mrs Hunt’s daughter Jo, 55, who
co-founded the group.

The inscription reads: “In recognition of Cecily Hunt 1933-2020, who co-founded the Friends of Sonning Common Library and fought tirelessly to save the library for the community.” Ms Hunt, a former parish councillor, also presented the library with a set of books by her mother’s favourite author, Ann Cleeves.

She said: “It was very emotional to see the plaque. It was lovely to know that her memory will always be there. Where the library is is also my old school hall.”

Mrs Hunt was originally from Cambridgeshire and moved to Sonning Common more than 60 years ago to raise her three children.

Ms Hunt, who still lives in the house in Grove Road, said her mother spent a lot of time at the library and “always had her head in a book”. When her mother learned that the library was earmarked for closure, her first thought was for the mothers who regularly took their small children there as they were too young to go to school. She felt it was important for the children to have access to the library.

Ms Hunt said: “If there are projects at school, they can use the library to research. If the library went, parents can’t always afford books.”

Mrs Hunt was involved with the library for two decades and fund-
raised for new books.

She also supported the campaign to save it a second time in 2010 when Oxfordshire County Council considered closing it to save money.

Alison Smith, who chairs the Friends, said: “Having a library in Sonning Common means a lot to the community and we have Cecily Hunt and her fellow committee members from 1998 to thank for that.” There are story times at the library every Saturday at 10am, and rhyme times at 11am on the first and third Mondays of the month.

The library is also a drop-off point for various types of recycling and for donations to Springwater Church’s food bank.

Visitors are given free use of the computers and can receive help with how to use their own devices.

The Friends organise and subsidise events for the community, such as the murder mystery evening in the village hall in March staged in conjunction with the Chiltern Players.

Forthcoming events include an illustrated talk called “Women with wings” by Carolyn Kirby on June 13, ZooLab for children on July 27 and Lego Master Builders on August 30.

For more information, visit www.friendsofsonningcommon

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