The Frankie Howerd OBE Trust
An absolutely fabulous person!
The nation is now aware of the sad news of the death of Dame June Whitfield on the 28th December. What an incredible woman! To appreciate the enormity and variety of her contribution to the entertainment world since 1946 and the present, one merely needs to look at her entry in Wikipedia.
What many may not know, however, is that she had a close link with this area. She was a very good friend of Frankie Howerd and Dennis Heymer who lived in the village of Cross and often came down to visit them. Recently, she agreed to be a Patron of the Frankie Howerd OBE Trust and, after the death of Dennis Heymer, its President.
On a personal level, she was such an accessible and down-to-earth actress. She once showed our Treasurer, Phil Davies, round her house in Wimbledon and proudly drew his attention to her central staircase which was adorned with photographs of herself and Frankie Howerd. “I thought you would be pleased to see these,” she said. She was very interested in the Trust and was truly delighted to be its President. I met her for the first time at the Winchester Festival where she was talking about her “Absolutely Fabulous” life and took time out to sign a couple of books. She often phoned me to enquire how the Trust was doing and I would update her on our community hub project in Loxton. She would say: “I’d love to, but I don’t think I could come down there now, dear, as I’m not so nimble on my feet.”
Therefore, as a mark of respect to and love for June, the Trust has decided to name the community hub activities’ room “The Dame June Whitfield Room”. The Trust has full planning permission to build this hub (the former blacksmith’s shop in Loxton) which will support the twelve villages and hamlets that make up the local community by offering minibus transport, a café, kitchen and bar to provide meals and drinks, an activities’ room, a “handyman” service, a shop with basic provisions, and a full-time manager to coordinate everything so that the hub can also act as a resilience centre for whatever local residents deem useful or necessary.
As part of the first phase of the build and as evidence of the overwhelming support for our project, we have already been granted £20,000 from the National Grid and are seeking further funding to turn the dream into a reality. Information on this and the opportunity to donate to this exciting project in memory of one of our most-loved actresses can be found on our website: www.frankiehowerdobetrust.org
“I get recognised quite a bit, but people are so nice. They say things like ‘thank you for all the fun’, which is wonderful to hear”. June Whitfield: a truly remarkable person who embodied the notion that the greatest people are often the most humble.
The Trust is working with the Wessex Learning Academy to organise a Fun Day with a sponsored walk, run and cycle on the weekend of the 15th and 16th June to raise money for the Learning Academy and the Trust’s community hub in Loxton: www.frankiehoerdobetrust.org
THE FRANKIE HOWERD COMMUNITY HUB
Situated in a village just a couple of miles down the lane from Frankie’s house, the Hub will provide much needed services to the surrounding villages which have no shops, pubs or bus service.
The Community Hub project is gathering momentum.
An Advisory Committee has been formed and its members include a local solicitor, an accountant, social worker, professional fund raiser, the vicar and a teacher all of whom bring useful skills and experience to the project.
A fund raising group has also started with a brief to engage with local businesses, create a foundation members group and improve social media links.
If you would like to help the development of the hub and have expertise that could be helpful then please contact us.
A significant and very positive development has been the creation of a partnership between ourselves and The Wessex Learning Trust which educates more than 2600 students in our community.
We have a shared philosophy with a mutual goal of strengthening our community from youth through to old age.
Together, on Saturday, June 15th this year we are organising a Fun Day at The Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar which will include a Fun Run, Family Ramble and Cyclofun. Details of these events will appear shortly under the slogan “Fit For Our Community”.
National Grid Grant
The Trust is delighted to announce the award of a £20,000 grant towards the development of the hub. This will enable work on Phase 1 to commence shortly.
The Frankie Howerd OBE Trust is a Registered Charity – No. 1122850