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In Memoriam Recognition 2021

Submitted by our community recognising those who are sadly no longer with us but who live on in our hearts through the legacy of their fantastic work in the community. 

Click on the name links to take you directly to the details.

East Staffordshire

Sean Killion

Newcastle-under-Lyme

Peter William Grocott  |  Dennis Vickers  |  Edwin Cotter 

Stafford and District

Dr. Anne Hardy Andrews  |  Brian Cook

Staffordshire Moorlands

Craig Pickering  |  Sue Barrett  |  Derek and Daphne Salt 

Tamworth

Maurice Arnold

 


Sean Killion

13 January 1965 - 3 August 2020

Sean had been involved with YMCA Burton for more than 15 years. He originally joined our Burton shop as a volunteer and became a much respected and loved staff member working across many areas of the Charity. His passion was to make a difference to the lives of others where he could and he treated everyone with respect & an innate kindness. He worked in our Burton shop as a driver, then store supervisor where he created a real sense of Community and helped many customers and members of the community. Whether that was making someone a cup of tea and a chat to supporting victims who have fled domestic violence and need help to start again, Sean always had time for anyone and was a great listener. His ability to listen and help others meant he trained to be a mediator and he supported families through our mediation service on a voluntary basis. He also managed the night shelter and was a housing & outreach navigator working with rough sleepers locally. He was instrumental in moving all the rough sleepers in to temporary accommodation when the Country went in to lockdown. Sean worked hard and volunteered a lot of his time too. He was an ambassador for supporting Mental Health and was open about his own struggles over the years and championed this through his work & personal life.

Sean is hugely missed and on the day of his funeral 100’s of people gathered (MIX OF COLLEAGUES/PEOPLE HE HAD HELPED/FRIENDS & COMMUNITY MEMBERS) and lined the street outside our Burton shop as he was driven past for the last time. His legacy is kindness to all and we will always remember the kindness Sean showed to everyone.

Submitted by Paula Senior - Fundraising & Partnerships, Burton YMCA

 


Peter William Grocott  (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

28 May 1945 - 7 December 2020 

Peter was active in the community of Chesterton in Newcastle-Under-Lyme and was a volunteer at Red Street Community Centre , were he spent many hours as the booking secretary/ facilities manager , liaising with all the groups that used the centre and also interacting with the local residents for hiring the facilities , something that he really enjoyed doing.

Peter was a connector for Support Staffordshire for several years in the Newcastle-Under-Lyme area and attended meetings , where groups would chat about various issues and also invited groups to become members of the organisation .

Peter also helped out in the community with other various groups, which he sat on including Respect Chesterton , Chesterton Local Action Partnership , Chesterton Charities and HalmerEnd CIC , all organisations that organised events and also raise money to help various charities and local residents.

He loved his sport also involved with Chesterton Amateur Football Club for 51 years in many different positions including Chairman , Manager , Secretary and Player originally , Wood Lane Cricket Club as a player and also club secretary for over 45 years and recently Halmerend CIC FC.

Peter was a community champion, who had so many friends but always had time to help , no matter what and will be sadly missed by all that knew him.

Submitted by David Grocott, son.

 


Dennis Vickers  (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

15 October 1950 - 9 September 2020

Dennis, originally from Windsor moved to Smallthorne and was well known in his community particular amongst the local football scene as former secretary of Norton United and later his volunteering. In 2009 he lost his beloved wife Linda to pancreatic cancer. He had just retired from teaching at Alleyne’s school in Stone and with encouragement from his Daughter-in-law he started volunteering at Dougie Mac. Dennis having been a teacher was the perfect person to be an ambassador for the hospice and encouraging the fundraisers of the future by doing talks and fundraising at schools. His natural ability to converse with young people shone, and as well as giving something back to the hospice personally he helped to raise money through the young people of the city. A particularly important project he was involved in was the “Expressions of Care” where local schools took part in workshops, led by Dennis to learn about the hospice then produce a whole school piece of artwork. The competition was displayed in the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery and some are still displayed in the hospice today. As an ambassador he would regularly represent the hospice collecting money from supporters and attending fundraising events and would always be seen at the hospice events such as the Ball and 5K, giving his time for the cause he loved. One of his favourite fundraising events was the hospices annual Bring a Pound. This gave him the perfect opportunity to meet supporters, collect money and share the work of the hospice. As well as this he found the time to be one of the hospices patient drivers; picking Day Therapy patients up from home bringing them into the hospice for treatment and respite then taking them home again, this gave him an enormous amount of satisfaction. He encouraged everyone he met to raise money and awareness and would do anything for the hospice at the drop of a hat.

Dennis passed away suddenly last September, just before his 70th Birthday and his absence is felt by everyone he met at the hospice, he quite literally was a member of the family and is sorely missed.

Submitted by Deborah Vickers – Voluntary Services Manager on behalf of Douglas Macmillan Hospice

 


Edwin Cotter  (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Passed away 8 April 2020

Edwin Cotter was the Pastor at Silverdale Elim Church.

He was a pillar of the community. Even though he was a pastor he would have a laugh and a joke with you and he didn't care if you believed or not. He was an absolute joker, the king of banter and just a funny person to be around. He was such a generous man and he would take gifts to people for no reason and go and visit people who he knew were struggling and he never expected anything in return. If I could sum him up in one word it would be generosity, he oozed it and he encouraged all of us who he knew to be the same as well.

As well as being pastor, Edwin was also a governor at Silverdale Primary Academy and he was always trying to help the school, doing a lot of assemblies. He set up the food bank in Silverdale to make sure people are fed and he set up the café giving away free meals.  He also invited Aspire to come in and give out advice at the same time.

He is leaving a very big hole that won't be filled for the church, the community and his family.

 


Dr. Anne Hardy Andrews  (Stafford)

Passed away 27 April 2020

Dr Anne Andrews lived in the Parish of Tixall for over half a century. In that time, while working in academia and caring for her family, she became an integral part of village life; the cog around which the life of the community revolved.

For over 42 years she had been a Parish Councillor and unpaid Clerk to the Council.  She worked tirelessly for the local community and oversaw the transition from Parish meeting to Parish Council (PC) in 1979.

Anne’s eye for detail and ability to plan ahead, has ensured that the PC remained a dynamic and effective organisation working for the benefit of the local area and its residents.  Anne produced and distributed a monthly newsletter. Under Anne’s guiding hand the Council has secured funding for Ingestre Community Orchard, worked with local planning department to oversee restoration of old buildings including Ingestre Orangery, participated in extensive negotiations with HS2 and made representations to Parliament on this issue, collaborated with Stafford Borough Council on reviews of the Conservation areas of both Ingestre and Tixall and successfully secured undergrounding of utility cables in Ingestre.

In 2002, following a decade of work to bring about the restoration of Tixall Village Hall from a Victorian school room, Anne was instrumental in its acquiring charitable status, thus securing its future.  She was also a Trustee of this thriving Village Hall and was the driving force behind the Village Hall monthly local produce sales which also supported local crafts people.  These are still an invaluable social hub for this small community.

Anne was a keen and extremely knowledgeable historian who founded and led the local history group. She organised exhibitions e.g. to commemorate the recent WW1 centenary. She has written and published several local history books, ensuring that the fascinating past of Tixall and Ingestre is not forgotten. Her work has recently been recognised with a national local history award.  

Anne has always been willing and able to turn her hand to anything and everything from painting and decorating the Village Hall to fine darning of the tablecloths used at the monthly ‘soup kitchen’.

Anne’s involvement in village life also extended to Tixall Church where she was a Church warden.

Anne, along with her husband, Jim, supported many other local organisations including the award-winning Staffordshire Industrial Archaeology Association.

Even when seriously ill, she took her laptop to Katharine House and continued working right up to her death there in April 2020. For Anne did not regard illness as a reason to slow down but instead increased her voluntary work within the community of which she was always so proud.  She has contributed so much and enhanced the life of so many people.

Submitted by Nicola Woodhouse, For Tixall Village Hall and Ingestre with Tixall Parish Council

 


Brian Cook  (Stafford)

9 October 1970 - 14 December 2020

Brian Cook was a much valued member of the volunteer team at Baswich Community Managed Library; here are some of his library friends’ and colleagues’ memories of him.

Staffordshire County Council Community Support Officer, Helen, says “Brian was one of the first volunteers to be recruited when Baswich Library was due to transfer to being a community managed library – he came along to the first recruitment event at the library and was keen to know what was happening, how it was going to work, what volunteer roles were available. He signed up straight away. He was an enthusiastic and committed volunteer who gave 5 years volunteering service to the library, helping to make it a well-used, thriving and welcoming place for the local community. Prior to this he was a volunteer IT Buddy for Staffordshire Library Service. He was always keen to help people to develop their IT skills, and he was ideally suited to this role due to his proficiency and interest in computers as well as his sense of humour! He was a core part of a strong volunteer team and is much missed by everyone.”

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) Library Co-ordinator, Michelle, says “When I became the MPFT co-ordinator for Baswich library, Brian had already been volunteering for over a year and was the Deputy Co-ordinator. He was a key member of the team and always very helpful. His knowledge around the library was brilliant and he was always willing to point people in the right direction if they were in need of assistance. He was very keen to see the library succeed as a Community Managed library and was full of ideas of how this could be achieved. His commitment was second to none and he still volunteered on a regular basis whilst going through treatment for his condition. He was quick witted with a very dry sense of humour. He will be greatly missed by all who used the library, his fellow volunteers and me.”

The Volunteer Coordinator, Val, says “As Volunteer Co-ordinator, Brian, as my deputy supported me in any decisions which had to be made. On a personal level I have known Brian for over 15 years as a member of the library Book Club. His pithy comments about some of the books will be missed by all the group, as will his sense of humour!”

Submitted by Helen Farr, Community Support Officer, Staffordshire Libraries and Arts Service

 


Craig Pickering  (Staffordshire Moorlands)

13 October 1963 - 4 February 2021

Craig first joined the executive team of Biddulph Folk Club in 2004 when he started to suggest artistes we should include in our programme.

It soon became evident that he had a sound knowledge of the national music scene and a good eye for top-class acts, many of whom were outside the genre of “folk music.” This resulted in the club widening its scope and in 2006 was revamped with a name change to “Biddulph Up in Arms Concerts” to reflect this.

Craig took sole responsibility of booking the programme and promoting the concerts in 2011.

Since then, his programmes have read like a “Who’s Who” of music with a wide array of guests ranging from Glenn Tilbrook (from the pop group “Squeeze”), numerous American and Canadian groups and traditional and contemporary folk acts. This has helped to put Biddulph on the music map, attracting audiences from throughout the country.

Craig also made a point of supporting local talent, booking them as support spots to the main artists. This enabled them to play to  large audiences and helped them develop their performance skills.  He also organised Album Launches for numerous local artistes as well as charity concerts. 

Craig was also a founder member of Biddulph Literary Society and was responsible for organising events such as Poets and Pints featuring local poets, History Wardrobe  and storytelling  events. One of his biggest coups was when he persuaded Michael Morpurgo to appear at Biddulph Town Hall to narrate his First World War story Private Peaceful. Michael, the previous day had performed the same show at the National Theatre, London. Another time one of the country’s biggest Crime Writers, Peter Robinson gave a reading and book signing.

Since 2008 Craig was also Chairman of Biddulph Arts Forum where he helped to create a vibrant arts scene in Biddulph, encouraging and valuing all aspects of the work of local clubs and societies.  He also organised, in 2019 a Real Ale and Music Festival where he raised £1800 for the Biddulph Mayor’s Charity.

Craig was diagnosed seven years ago with Lung Cancer and at the time was given only a few months to live. He never complained or mentioned his condition and he lived for every second, always being positive and constantly looking forward to organising future events.  His enthusiasm and personal approach was outstanding and his contribution to the local arts scene second to none. He will be sadly missed by all.

Submitted by Eric Cox (founder member of Biddulph Folk Club, Secretary of Biddulph Arts Forum and ex-Chairman of The Biddulph Festival)

 


Sue Barrett  (Staffordshire Moorlands)

Passed away 17 March 2020

Sue began volunteering with Cheadle Library on 15th June 2009. Sue has been a strong supporter of libraries and local history and offered numerous appointments to members of the public who were trying to search their family history. People were so thrilled to find out where they came from and who they were related to, Sue offered something which the staff did not have time to research and the public were very grateful. Sometimes people just needed a suggestion from Sue about what to do next when they came to a standstill and others, who perhaps had never seen a computer before, needed Sue’s expert guidance and for her to type everything in!

Every Monday appointments were available to book or were for people to just drop in, meaning Sue sometimes never knew what to expect or who’s skeleton might be lurking in the closet at one of the sessions. Tracing your ancestors is not always that straightforward and can throw up a few surprises. Sue’s passion and interest has been passed onto to many of the members of the library – sometimes developing into a bit of an obsession, as people want to delve further and further back. Sue was very knowledgeable about the Cheadle and had a passion for the history of the place and its buildings. She got involved in local projects and events and she would aften create a display or an exhibition at a moment’s notice. An archive of local knowledge and information was being built up by Sue’s passion for local history and her curious nature. She produced an excellent exhibition on weaving in Cheadle during Arts Week which was on display in the library whilst there were weaving sessions for people to take part in.

Sue was also brilliant at promoting the library and its resources, she produced a lovely piece to put in the local Newspaper, The Cheadle and Tean Times, when she salvaged some old photographs, about to be thrown into a skip. They were taken by the local Cheadle photographer, Mr Lowndes, Sue invited people to come into the library to see if they could identify anyone in them. (See the attached article from the newspaper). Cheadle now has a wealth of local history which Sue developed to complement its local church histories and parish registers.

Sue’s enthusiasm for local history and all things Cheadle will be missed.

Submitted by Michelle Jackson, Community Support Officer, Staffordshire Libraries and Arts Service ​

 


Derek and Daphne Salt  (Staffordshire Moorlands)

Derek 1946 - 5 August 2020

Daphne 1947 - 17 January 2021

Derek's father Jim ran Butterton Post Office and Shop. Derek and Daphne took it over when Jim died.

At present the premises - Greenlow, Butterton, stands empty and it is so sad to realise every time I pass the shop there is no one living there.

They were the loveliest couple and Derek had such a wicked sense of humour.  They are survived by a son Richard and a daughter Julie.

Thank you for permitting me to celebrate their lives. They are so sadly missed by us all at Butterton, Nr Leek.

Submitted by Maggie Risby

 


Maurice Arnold  (Tamworth)

10 September 1925 - 13 February 2021

Maurice grew up in Wilnecote Tamworth and spent a lifetime passionately involve in nature conservation. Even in his 90’s he would advise groups in the Wild About Tamworth project and had helped establish areas like Alvecote Pools, Broad Meadow with its fritillary’s and Hodge Lane LNR also working with the Staffordshire Wetlands Trust and Middleton Lakes. He was a quite unassuming man whom it has been a privilege to have known and learnt from for 30 years.

Submitted by Diane Wells, co-ordinator of Hodge Lane Conservation Group.