Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Village installs bench to remember community stalwart

Village installs bench to remember community stalwart

A BENCH has been installed in Stoke Row to honour a community stalwart of the village.

Angela Spencer-Harper, who lived in the village for more than 35 years, died in October last year, aged 84.

The bench has been installed in the grounds of the village’s famous Maharajah’s Well and was officially opened by her husband Bob and the couple’s two sons Philip and Michael on Saturday.

Mr Spencer-Harper cut a red ribbon on the bench, which has a plaque that reads: “In memory of Angela Spencer-Harper, who gave so much to Stoke Row.”

The couple moved to the village in the late Seventies.

Mrs Spencer-Harper, a retired administrator, became an expert on the history of the area and wrote three books. She also produced the parish magazine for 37 years and was involved in running Stoke Row chapel.

In 2016 she received the Oxfordshire High Sherriff’s Award for her contribution to the community.

About a dozen people, including villagers and parish councillors, attended the bench unveiling ceremony, which was followed by a gathering with refreshments at Stoke Row Village Stores.

Maureen Ball, who chairs Stoke Row Parish Council, said: “Angela was such a stalwart in the village and a larger-than-life character. For many people, she was Stoke Row.

“If there was anything which needed organising or doing, she would do it. The village is a much better place because of her.

“We did not want to allow her passing to go unmarked. It was something members of the council agreed to unanimously and it has been a team effort to arrange it.”

Michael Spencer-Harper said: “The whole family wants to thank the parish council for organising this to recognise my mother’s contribution to the village.

“I hope it’s an inspiration for others to do likewise and volunteer in the community.

“It’s those kinds of actions which make a village and a community like Stoke Row so special.”

The installation of the bench was organised by parish councillor Brian Foley.

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