TOWNSFOLK in Warwick are invited to a special church service on Friday January 25 in memory of the town’s greatest benefactor Thomas Oken.
He was a wealthy merchant who lived in Warwick in the 16th century, left property, land and a large sum of money to help those in need in the town of Warwick, and every year his legacy is celebrated with a church service at St Mary’s and a feast at the Lord Leycester Hospital.
Clive Mason, chairman of the Charity of Thomas Oken and Nicholas Eyffler, which was founded in 1571, said: “It’s a wonderful service that is held in accordance with Thomas Oken’s wishes and everyone in the town is invited to come and enjoy the music and hymns. I hope that as many townspeople as possible will attend the service, which begins at 7pm.”
The evening will begin with the traditional parade of trustees, dignitaries and townspeople from the Court House to the church, led by Mr Mason and Warwick mayor Richard Eddy, and close with the annual feast in the Guild Hall at the Lord Leycester Hospital, where the guest speaker will be the Revd Vaughan Roberts, vicar of St Mary’s and chairman of the Parochial Church Council.
Terry Brown, a charity trustee and organiser of the feast, said other guests would include the High Sherriff, Clare Sawdon, members of Court Leet, the mayor and town clerk Jayne Topham, town councillors, King’s High School for Girls headmaster Richard Nicholson and Warwick School headmaster Dr Deneal Smith.
Also, this year, guests will include the chief executives of two organisations working with the charity in joint initiatives, Christine Asbury of Warwickshire Care Services and Ruth Freeman of the Myton Hospices.
Today the charity owns alms houses in Castle Hill and Bowling Green Street and makes significant grants. Recent grants have included Myton Hospice, Oken Nurses at local GP’s, Citizens Advice, Woodside Care Village and Warwick Apprenticing Charity.