A FORMER planning officer from Warwick has left his mark in his home town after leaving a substantial legacy to charity.
The bequest of Roger Smith, who with his wife Mary decided to leave their Emscote Road home to the Charity of Thomas Oken and Nicholas Eyffler, has paid for the £63,500 renovation and refurbishment of the charity’s almshouses on Castle Hill.
And the charity has commemorated the generosity of the one time principal planner with Stratford District Council by unveiling a plaque on the almshouses his bequest helped to renovate – with four bedsits converted into two twin bedroom cottages.
The charity’s chairman of finance, Terry Brown, said: “Roger left a substantial sum to the charity, a small part of which has enabled us to carry out this modernisation, leaving a large sum for other projects,” he said.
Alan Sturley, a school friend of Mr Smith and a retired trustee of Thomas Oken Trust, said his friend – who died in 2011, aged 84 – had a long-established interest in Warwick and a love of the town.
Mr Sturley told The Observer: “He was born in Leamington but moved to Warwick when he was two years old. He then lived in the same house for his remaining 82 years.
“He was a pupil at Warwick School before going off to war at 17 with the Royal Navy and later wrote a book entitled Shipshape and Bristol Fashion.
“Although he trained as an accountant, he became a town planner and rose to become principal planning officer with Stratford District Council.
“He had many interests, including coaching fencing – foil, epee and sabre.
“He was chairman of Leamington Probus Club and of Warwickshire County Council Retired Members’ Association, a committee member of the Royal Warwickshire Regimental Association, and of both the Warwick and Leamington branches of the Royal Naval Association.
“He was also an active member of the Old Warwickian Association, for whom he acted as ‘official’ photographer.”
Founded in 1571, the charity owns 14 almshouses in Castle Hill and Bowling Green Street and makes significant grants most years for ‘relief in need’ in the town, including to Myton Hospice, Lord Leycester Hospital and Warwick Apprenticing.