Parishioner of the Year

Most years the Parish Council invites nominations for a Parishioner of the Year Award. This is someone (or sometimes a couple) from within the parish who has devoted much time and energy working voluntarily for the community.  On occasions, the Council has made more than one Award in the year, recognising the efforts of local people, who at any time, have contributed significantly to life within the parish.

Neil Rowe - 2021

Neil’s contribution to Marcham is immense, he has been instrumental in major projects, fundraising and improvements for the benefit of the community. Indeed, Neil started his community involvement not long after he moved to the village – during the heavy snowstorms in January 1982 he collected prescriptions, by tractor, for those in need. He actively got involved in the local primary school by being a member of the Parents’ and Teachers’ Association, later joining the school’s Governing Body. Neil even turned his hand to the ‘arts’ by partaking in the school’s plays and arranged the breath-taking Mikado production in the beef unit for Opera Anywhere. Neil is also known for his numerous catering events, mainly involving fire, meat and alcohol! Such events include Burns Suppers, weekend celebrations, bonfires, barn dances and village BBQs; his BBQ’d beef is unsurpassed! In supporting village events (and those further afield) he has always been willing to lend his small marquees and bouncy castles. Neil’s charitable virtuous deeds also embrace the local church – he spearheads the church’s charities for Send a Cow and Moldovo Lifeline. Indeed, he has worked tirelessly as Church Warden, is a member of the Parochial Church Council and has been Lay Chair of the Deanery Synod; for which he was made a Fellow of St Birinus. Neil is Chairperson of the Anson Trust and through his vision and tenacity (over a 20-year period) has resulted in the creation of the new Marcham Village Hall. Neil’s latest venture takes him back to his love of food and BBQs – he was instrumental in the creation of the village’s Thirsty Café and engages in its day-to-day management and operation – whereby he can be seen actively making his famous breakfast rolls or standing behind a smoky BBQ! Neil is an amazing warm-hearted and generous man of deep Christian faith, always willing to put himself forward to help anybody, whatever their need.

Jim Asher - 2021

Jim Asher has made a major contribution to many aspects of Marcham’s life over the years. Jim was a founder member of Marcham Society and served on the committee and as viceChairman – it is tribute to his and other founding members’ work that the Society continues to flourish. Jim was a Parish Councillor and Chairman during some major initiatives – particularly the development in Longfields. He was part of the team who produced the Community Led Plan – work which involved an enormous amount of effort. Jim was the initiator and prime mover of the Marcham Community Group (MCG). His drive and determination, coupled with a constant commitment to openness to the whole community, helped to break the impasse of several decades in bringing consensus to the village, leading to the realistic way forward for Marcham Centre. His leadership of MCG, to bring the ideas to a reality, with plans and fundraising has been outstanding. Since the completion of the Centre, Jim has overseen the difficult transition to running it as a viable business while, at the same time, coping with the severe restrictions on its use due to the Covid epidemic. Together with Denise, Jim has fostered a community spirit by organising village events including several Great Marcham Weekends and bringing in a Scottish flavour with Burns Night suppers. These have brought so many people great pleasure, and involved many village organisations working together. As a token of its appreciation and on behalf of the civil parish of Marcham, the Parish Council has presented this certificate to Jim Asher on the fifth day of July two thousand and twenty-two. wishes to recognise and honour the contribution to village life made by Outside of the village, Jim has worked on Butterfly Conservation and he has brought his enthusiasm in this field into Marcham by actively surveying the parish for butterflies and moths, enthusing volunteers to carry out coppicing in Kiln Copse, developing a conservation strategy for All Saints’ Church churchyard and cemetery, and helping to construct the Jubilee Paths. Jim is an amazingly hard-working man – he has led groups who have achieved an enormous amount within our village and his sense of humour has seen us through difficult times. He can be very proud of the work that he has done for Marcham – and, in return Marcham is grateful for his contribution.

Judith and Peter Fontaine - 2018

Judith and Peter are long term residents of Marcham, moving into their newly-built house in 1971 and have been active in village affairs for many years. They were both on the Parent Teacher Association of the local school and Peter was also treasurer for some years. Since 2003 they have been distributors of Marcham and District News (MADNews) which is part of the lifeblood of communication in the village. It is not well known, and typical of this couple, that for many of these years they were not only distributing but also stapling the copies together, prior to distribution. This at the last count is 162 issues and about 178,200 copies collated and stapled, distributed over 45 delivery rounds. Both Peter and Judith have been active committee members of the Marcham Society as well, with Peter having acted as treasurer and Judith as secretary, a post that she still holds and she is deeply valued by the society. During the production of Marcham Society's book in 2009, Marcham Remembered, Judith and Peter took responsibility for the writing and production of the chapter on Occasions and People. Peter has volunteered in the Marcham Village Shop for many years and is one of the stalwart number that are a vital part in keeping the shop thriving as a community resource. Their quiet but unwavering support of all things Marcham and their willingness to sit on committees and do the hard work to make voluntary organisations thrive, adds so much to village life, and that is decidedly worthy of recognition.


Malcom Denton - 2017

Malcolm is dedicated to the wellbeing of Marcham, both the place and the people within it. This focus creates within him a desire to be involved and lead many vital activities for the village. He keeps a watchful eye on community issues and as Chairman of the Neighbourhood Action Group he has led the liaison with Thames Valley Police and he is flood response co-ordinator. He will also readily roll his sleeves up and go out litter picking with his wife Christine as well as organising regular litter picks when they are helped by more of the villagers. He works at clearing scrub in the graveyard, and has helped to decorate people's homes when in need. He is one of the committee members that is responsible for the village shop with re-stocking on Wednesday's being one of the many tasks he performs to help keep the shop running smoothly as a much needed community resource. He is actively involved in the planning for the new community facilities with the Community Facilities Steering Group. He has been a member of the Parish Council for many years, some of those as Chairman, a member of the Parochial Church Council and Clerk of Works for the Parish Church. His charitable work includes running the annual Poppy Appeal for the Royal British Legion, raising thousands of pounds for this charity. He is actively involved every year in organising the Remembrance Day ceremony and looking after the Wayside Cross. Malcolm has a heartfelt concern for the people of this community. His care for and dedication to this village is exemplary. He is always thoughtful, polite, approachable and trustworthy - a very safe pair of hands. A gentleman through and through, a real friend to Marcham.


Marjorie Evans - 2016

Marjorie has lived in Marcham for many years and has been involved in village life from the outset. She has shown a passion and commitment to improving the lives of parishioners of all ages, from being instrumental in seeking a better play area for children, providing more play equipment, an active proponent of the tree planting in the Millenium Arboretum, to being actively involved as a parish councillor for over 25 years. She was chairman of the parish council for several years and served on different working groups sorting out the various issues that arose. Marjorie entered local politics when she was successfully elected as a county councillor for four years in 1997. She also served for many years as a governor of Marcham Primary School, and held the role of chairman of the school governors for several years. Marjorie is a passionate and a generous parishioner who has the ability to think strategically, and would often suggest an innovative and ingenious solution to a problem. She has always strived hard to improve Marcham for its residents, and to support its growth and prosperity.


Meriel Lewis - 2014

Meriel has a passion and commitment for local issues and village life. She has great skills in publishing, which is evident in her generous contributions to the village. These range from her being editor of the monthly Marcham & District News for the last ten years, supporting the Marcham Community Group with the publications they produce and, as if this was not enough, she helped produce the Coral Rag. Then in 2009, working with Marcham Society, she went on to design Marcham Remembered, a first class book showing how village life has developed and changed from a rural idyll to today’s cosmopolitan community. She also finds the time to offer help in times of need, for example producing the order of service for the funerals of some of our parishioners and help to local groups when printing is needed. She is also regularly known to help many in the village with their computer issues. Meriel can often be seen volunteering in the Marcham Post Office and Community Shop; she gives both her time and technical skills to help and support the smooth running of this important asset. She is selfless in her contributions to village life and is always willing to listen and offer advice and support. Her cheerful enthusiasm is infectious and brings much joy to those around her.

Janey Cumber - 2013

Janey's multi-facetted involvement in our community spanned many years. She was a founder member of the Marcham Society and was Chair at the time of her death. She was equally involved with the creation of "Marcham Remembered", and the society's journal, "Coral Rag" . Her encouragement of the archaeological teaching-dig on Manor Farm for 11 years raised Marcham's profile as a pre-historic and Romano-British site. Her forming of the Vale and Ridgeway Trust was instrumental in financing post-excavation research and analysis, a privilege few excavations ever experience. William jnr, Ellen and Sophie gave Janey great joy. With their arrival Janey, supported most generously by Will snr, opened the farm to welcome so many of the village, whether to toddler group coffee mornings, bonfire night parties ( especially for Guides, Cubs and Brownies); picnics and swimming parties; sports days; farm visits; and last year, in the beef unit, " Opera Anywhere". Janey's Christian faith gave her the drive to fulfil many roles in the church community. Villagers and their children will have benefitted from her involvement with Friday club and her organisation of baptisms, marriages and funeral services. Many of our lives were greatly enriched by Janey's warmth and hospitality.

Jean and Donald Creasy - 2012

Never have there been such innovative ways of serving the community over so many years! We enjoy Donald's daffodils under village signs. Donald laboured as village handy man before he graduated to Chairman of Parish Council. The award winning youth shelter on the Anson Field was designed and built by him: it is indestructible and shelters all-comers. In retirement, Donald has turned wooden artefacts to raise money for the benefit of the Marcham Moldovan Link charity, as has Jean with her creative, barge-work painting. Jean is seen many a day on her bike visiting: bringing cheer to the housebound. Jean works for the village cafe every week, now she drives those less mobile to enjoy the fellowship and lunch. Donald has restored the churchyard lights, gratefully appreciated by twilight dog walkers. His turned wooden candlesticks are loved by those attending Christmas services; Jean's original and decorative banners add so much to the decor. It is so fitting that their diamond wedding anniversary year should be marked by this award.


Jill Rowe - 2011

Much of Jill's working life has been closely involved with animals, but young people have always been a priority for her. She started helping with 1st Marcham Guides in 1985, and since 1995 she has been the Unit Guider, in charge of weekly meetings and camps. There will be so many girls who will be indebted to her for the time she has given, to enable them to succeed and to reach their full potential. The hospitality offered to so many from her home, coupled with numerous village BBQs, has always been a joint effort with Neil, and she is the first to acknowledge his whole-hearted support. Jill, Neil, Emma, Jos and Becca make a great family team. Jill's energy is constant and selfless, and her imagination and creativity never ending, whether she is taking school assemblies, or running clubs in the village and the church, where she is Youth and Children's Minister. Her caring gifts, supported by her Christian faith extend to families and individuals of all ages, wherever there is a need. Nothing seems to be too much trouble for Jill.


Jessica Brod - 2010

Being a founder member of The Marcham Society and a significant contributor to the success it is today. She has generously given her time and expertise as a member of the Marcham Society Committee. By her patient and sustained efforts , in conjunction with others, eight volumes of The Marcham Society Journal “Coral Rag” have been published under her editorship. In November 2009 a team of thirteen members of the Marcham Society achieved their greatest undertaking – the publication of the book “Marcham Remembered: a village in pictures". She was the prime motivator in this publication and was instrumental in the major tasks of controlling costs and securing the Lottery Funding thereby enabling every family in the local area to have a free copy. Encompassing two centuries and evoking fond memories of people and times past, this book, acclaimed by a number of local historians is now saved in local libraries and the Oxfordshire Record Office.


Eddie and Pamela Shirras - 2009

Through their strong professional dedication, leadership and enthusiasm, together with a sincere love of the community, Eddie and Pamela were able to reinvigorate Marcham’s confidence in the church. In the course of their ministries at All Saints’, they were particularly successful in the involvement of newcomers and children through family services, clubs and a range of seasonal activities, into the family of the church and the community at large. Their tireless commitment enabled them also to develop close and most welcome links with Marcham Church of England Primary School, which brought great benefits to the growing number of pupils, parents, staff and governors alike.


Eric and Sheila Dunford - 2008

Their founding of the Marcham Society and their immense contribution to its functioning in so many ways, including the holding of offices, organising meetings and undertaking research have provided parishioners with knowledge, pleasure and joy. Their contribution to the life to All Saints’ Church, in particular to its music, through membership of the choir and through the playing of the organ, is warmly and deeply appreciated by the congregation and adds greatly to the prevailing welcoming atmosphere. Their selfless commitment and their informed and enthusiastic efforts have been pre-eminent in the establishment of the Jubilee walks in Marcham, whilst their many other contributions to the life of the village, including leading walks, running the village ‘Café’ and serving on the Parish Council are welcomed by all.


Christine Whild - 2007

Her outstanding contribution to music in Marcham has taken many forms: her playing, organising and production of Marcham V.E. celebrations; her contributions to many performances by the marcham Players and to services at All Saints’ Church are but a few of many. She has been a stalwart member of the Marcham Women’s Institute and has held a number of offices, playing a leading role in all its activities and generously sharing her many skills and enthusiasm with others. Her devotion and care of her husband Victor, through his long illness was an example to all and her unstinting work for charity, especially of the Local Alzheimers’ Group, has been exceptional.


Chris Ricketts - 2006

Her leadership, support and enthusiastic contributions to the cause of Marcham’s youth have been outstanding. In particular her leadership and organisation of Marcham’s Cubs for more than twenty-five years, her efforts in establishing a Youth Group and in previous years her efforts in organising boys football for Marcham, youngsters have marked her out as the adult who has contributed the most for the benefit of youngsters in Marcham. She has also contributed actively and in the most hands-on fashion to the Sports and Social Club, Playgroup and Marcham School, and as a volunteer driver of the community minibus. Added to that is her service as a Parish Councillor for more than ten years.


Jack Spicer - 2005

His enormous contribution to All Saints Church and especially its music through his role as Choirmaster and organist for more than twenty years has brought pleasure and joy to members of the congregation and to many families on special occasions such as weddings. His participation in the Senior Citizens’ Club and his contribution through organising programmes, events and outings has been a source of enjoyment to many. With his wife Elsa his wisdom, kindness and charitable nature have contributed to many village events and organisations and been of benefit to many individuals within Marcham.


Martin Thorne - 2004

His editorship of the Marcham and District News for fourteen years has added immeasurably to the sense of community and brought shared interest and knowledge of the village to all parishioners. His musical prowess and playing has added greatly to the enjoyment of Marcham Players’ productions, scout and cub entertainments and church activities. His wisdom and enthusiasm have contributed to the work of the Parish Council, Marcham Primary School, the Cubs and the Sports and Social Club and been of benefit to many individuals within Marcham.

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