Wendy Smith 1943 to 2002
Wendy Smith – and the bench outside the Appleton Community Shop
1943 to 2002
I am certain some in the community have wondered as they approach the Appleton Community Shop, what significance there is to the bench immediately outside the shop and who was Wendy Smith?
See Wendy Smith Obituary
Wendy Smith Newspaper obituaries
Wendy was very involved in village life from the time she and her husband, Roger, moved to the Orchard in Badswell Lane in 1976. Whilst Roger taught at John Mason, Wendy was an editor of scientific publications at Harwell.
Thespians with the Appleton Players, and both Barbershop fans, Wendy was an active member of the Wantage Ladies Barbershop group which has transmuted to Harmony Inspires, which today meets in the Appleton Village Hall for rehearsals.
I never witnessed Wendy as a Justice of the Peace, but I can only imagine she administered the law in a very practical, sensible human way and be very, very fair.
Travel also played an important part in their lives, and when Roger was teaching in the USA as part of an exchange teaching year, the family, including their daughters Liz and Ruth, travelled from the east coast to the west coast by Amtrak Railways. Wendy wrote a piece about their travels which was published in Good Housekeeping and entitled “American Express”!
Another trip was the 630+ mile cycling holiday crossing France and a combination of camping and B&Bs. Roger remarked: “this trip was a greater challenge for Wendy – as she was not a cycling nut like me!” They also formed a company marketing cycling holidays in the Thames Valley.
A major contribution to the community was her assembling of information from the questionnaire used for the Village Appraisal which was conducted in the early 1990s and published in 1998. She spent hours and hours evaluating the results and inputting the information that was used in the final report see Village Appraisal
where the report is shown in full.
When the Appleton Community Shop was first talked about in the year 2000, Wendy was very enthusiastic about the venture and became involved with the setting up of the shop, working closely with Margaret Reading and Felicity Dick. The combination of her business and community sense was ideal and it was no surprise when she was nominated and unanimously elected as the first chairman of the Appleton Community Shop.
Sadly she died in 2002 and was, at the time, chairman of Appleton Community Shop. Her sisters, Pam and Maureen donated the bench as a memory to Wendy. Her thanksgiving service was held in St Michael’s Church in Cumnor as St Laurence’s Church was undergoing major works. Just as well, as Appleton would not have accommodated the large number of people who wanted to pay their respects to a wonderfully warm human being. The Barbershop singers did her proud!
Those of us who knew her still miss her enormously – and I hope those who see or sit on her bench will reflect and think of her. She was fun, witty and a good friend to many. Roger, who, thankfully, remained in Appleton and is still involved with several aspects of community life, including the Appleton Community Shop as one of the team of early morning bakers, says: “I am sure Wendy is still watching me when I overcook the sausage rolls”! I am certain she is watching over us all!
Written by Graham Rose - with kind permission from Roger