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Grave of benefactor is given a clean-up

C140781-1 Bog Aug7 Fletcher  phot kate

Looking at the newly restored headstone of William H B Fletcher, Sid Siddall, from Exterior Cleaning and Maintenance whose company cleaned the stone voluntarily, John Hawkins, who fundraised for the project, the Rev James Russell, vicar of the church in North Mundham, and Greg Burt, chairman of the Local History Society.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140781-1 SUS-140208-125215001

C140781-1 Bog Aug7 Fletcher phot kate Looking at the newly restored headstone of William H B Fletcher, Sid Siddall, from Exterior Cleaning and Maintenance whose company cleaned the stone voluntarily, John Hawkins, who fundraised for the project, the Rev James Russell, vicar of the church in North Mundham, and Greg Burt, chairman of the Local History Society.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140781-1 SUS-140208-125215001

A CLEAN-UP has restored the resting place of a man who shaped Bognor Regis.

William Holland Ballet Fletcher, as the Lord of the Manor of Aldwick, was the last private owner of Aldwick Lodge.

This is now known as Hotham Park House after the property and its grounds were bought in 1946 by Bognor Regis Urban District Council.

Many of the trees still enjoyed in the park were planted by Mr Fletcher.

But his grave at North Mundham churchyard had become weathered with an illegible inscription. Alan McTernan, of the Exterior Cleaning and Maintenance Company, stepped in to clean it for free.

“I live in Fletcher Close in Nyetimber, so I was only too pleased to help ensure that the memory of the man after who my road was named was honoured,” he said. “Also, the volunteers at the history society do a great job at the museum. I always try to help those groups who do so much for the town.”

Mr Fletcher had been a pillar of society as a patron of many charities and societies, a magistrate, chairman of Bognor Regis Urban District Council and the mayor of Worthing.

His death saw his estate, valued at some £300,000, equally divided between Chichester, Worthing and Brighton hospitals as his will stated having no close relatives.

His land at Hawthorn Road and Nyetimber 
Lane, leased to Bognor 
and Pagham cricket clubs, was given to them.

But he left no funds for a gravestone. One had been made but not installed for his late wife, Agnes, who had died in 1939.

His grave, therefore, stayed unmarked in the churchyard where his brother had been the vicar.

In 1976, keen local historian John Hawkins tried to change that for £60, but without any joy. Bognor Regis Local History Society’s formation three years later spurred him on.

He ensured £150 was raised for a simple stone in a quiet corner of the churchyard in 1980.

Greg Burt, the society’s chairman, said: “We hope our successors in another 30 years will ensure it is still readable as William Fletcher’s legacy lives on in many of the public parks and open spaces we are enjoying today.”

 

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