Due to the wonderful response and increased demand for people to contribute, we are now aiming to provide a maintenance free, superior bench with cast iron sides. Please see photo below. As such, we now have a new target figure of £1,300. Many thanks to everyone for their support and generosity so far, we have been overwhelmed by the wonderful response.
JOHNNY WIGMORE : Well known Cheapside Legendary figure. Born, bred, lived, supported and died in the Village. And for the Village.
Sadly, we have lost one of our most beloved residents this year, Johnny Wigmore. He was born in 1931 in Cheapside Road, one of 4 children, and lived here with his parents. He married, then moved away but came back with his two teenage sons to live in Dorian Drive.
We moved opposite soon after, with a small toddler and I was 9 months pregnant! He saw our house in darkness and someone with a torch in the lounge (our lighting wasn’t working!) Suddenly we hear a knocking at our front door and look at each other in amazement, there stands Johnny, “Can I help”. We almost collapse with relief! He fixes our lights and we are eternally grateful. And since then, for the last 40+ years, every evening we watch him leave his house to visit the Thatched Tavern Pub in Cheapside to have his nightly beverage. Just an hour, then he comes carefully back again. We learned that he first started going there as a small boy, collecting the pint pots for the landlord back in the 1930’s.
But, we have discovered so much more about our Neighbour, this is no ordinary man. From humble beginnings (his father Joseph was a local milkman and his mum had been a cook at the Cheapside School) he built up a thriving business before retiring. He was a very active member of the village, with his own allotment growing prized flowers and vegetables for the Horticultural society competitions. The annual battle for the ‘Heaviest Onion Grower’ was a favourite with the village. He was instrumental in the building of the Village Hall and was one of the mainstays of the Horticultural society.
His grand-daughters went to Cheapside school and he helped out at the tea tent raising money for the school, selling his plants grown in his garden and the allotment.
If you were among those that lined the roads when his funeral procession wound slowly around the village, and were sad not to be able to pay your respects at his funeral, if you, like us, feel that the founding father of our Village cannot go without some kind of recognition, please help us to raise the money for a bench which will be situated by the bus stop on Watersplash Lane (at the end of Dorian Drive). This will have a plaque in his memory on it. It will give rest to people waiting for the bus, for mums and dads waiting for children to come out of the school, or a spot to sit and chat for joggers and walkers alike.
We have received permission from the Roads and Highways Department who own that little strip of land by the bus stop, and they have happily agreed to provide and install the bench once we have raised the necessary funds for it. We have managed to get a quote of £825 which is at cost price for both the purchase of the bench and the installation.
If you have enjoyed Johnny’s stories in the past (he always made time for everyone and would stop and tell you a full history) , if you are going to miss his Olde World charm and caring personality, please join us in fundraising for a bench in his memory. (Hopefully it will be safe enough in the New Year to have a short ceremony at the bench in his memory as we were unable to attend his funeral.)
We would be so grateful for any donation that you can give and would also appreciate it if you could forward and share this link to all your friends and family who knew Johnny and may also like to support his memorial bench.
from friends and neighbours of Johnny Wigmore
- Caroline Sayers
- Liz Sim
- Kirsten O'Sullivan
- Francesca Shelley
- Jan Gurr
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