Civic Society tribute to founding member

Saturday 22nd January 2022 12:00 pm
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Abergavenny & District Civic Society member John Wilson ()

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Councillor Tony Konieczny, chair of Abergavenny & District Civic Society has paid tribute to founding member John Wilson who has sadly died.

He said: ‘‘It is with great sadness that we have learned that John Wilson, a founding member of the Abergavenny and District Civic Society has died, aged 92 years.

John was a quiet man, passionate about gardening and horticulture, but very few knew that he had read English and Politics at Balliol College, Oxford as he wore his academic achievements lightly.

John was a leading member of a group of residents who formed the Civic Society in 1967.

Early in December 1967 an audience of over 100 at the Angel Hotel voted unanimously to form the society following the work of a steering committee chaired by John; Reif Godfrey was elected chairman and John Wilson as vice-chairman.

James Kegie, county planning officer, is recorded as saying at the launch that ‘if every citizen of Abergavenny belonged to this civic society there would be no problem of ugliness or bad planning. No-one – architect, trader or local authority – would dare to do anything that would detract from the town’s appearance and welfare.’

Perhaps subsequent history has not entirely borne that out, but John Wilson and others such as Richard Merton Jones worked hard for the town in the following decades.

John was chair of the Society in 1987/88 and involved in all of the major civic achievements of the Society over the years, celebrating and commemorating Royal Jubilees, publishing a book about Abergavenny and restoring neglected areas such as the horse trough on Holywell Road.

When the Society looked as if it might have to wind up in 2010 because of a lack of support, John approached myself and others to make a proposal to reinvigorate the Society.

Once again, John chaired a committee, now of old and new members to oversee the transition, and the Society was re-launched with Alan Michie elected as chair. John continued to attend the meetings of the Society until we were no longer able to meet because of the Covid restrictions.

It seems fitting that we should now plant a tree in a suitable position to remember John and his years of self-effacing service to the Society and the wider community.

As a Society we extend our most sincere condolences to John’s remaining family.

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