The Trustees of Pewsey Heritage Centre regret to announce the recent death of Roger Llewellyn Pope, long time Patron and Trustee and latterly, after a severe stroke left him housebound, the Centre's genealogy expert and, along with his wife Shirley, fount of all knowledge of past people and events in Pewsey Vale.
Roger, a man of strong socialist principles, was born, brought up and educated as a youngster in Pewsey, his secondary education being at Dauntsey's School near Devizes. Very much a 'people' person, Roger was for a time on the parliamentary staff of Anthony Wedgewood Benn, a man he very much admired. Roger married Shirley, begat two sons Simon and Will, settled down in Pewsey and commuted via Pewsey's none too efficient train service to London for many years. Roger was always keen on things Pewsey, was a staunch supported of the Carnival and published several much missed local history books of old photographs (all now unfortunately out of print). He had a large collection of Vale-based ephemera, some items of which were mounted in scrapbooks now held in the Centre.
When in about 1986 Pewsey Local History Society agreed to take on the task of setting up a small Heritage Centre based around the Victorian machine tools in the old Foundry building then belonging to Whatley and Co, Roger provided a deal of support to Michael Duckenfield, who, with a band of volunteers and the co-operation of Whatley management, took on the responsibility of setting up the Centre on behalf of the History Society. He donated many items from his personal collection to the Centre, and proved invaluable as a source of advice and information. When the Centre opened in 1992 Roger accepted the position, proposed by the other Trustees, as Patron of the Centre. Roger continued to provide support, aid and assistance to the Centre management, although having a full-time job stopped him from taking part in the minutiae of routine daily tasks. His active support was abruptly terminated by his severe stroke in 2014, although for a while he continued to offer support to Trustee meetings by telephone.
But thanks to modern technology and the internet for the last five years Roger and Shirley between them have run the Heritage Centre genealogy service, answering questions on Vale families from all over the world, giving advice, contacts and information, and more than once putting different branches of the same family in touch with each other. The Trustees have been very grateful for this, as it has kept the Centre as a real focal point for the world-wide and local Pewsey Vale and ex-Pewsey Vale families.
Roger will be sadly missed by his family, his friends both local and world wide, and not least by the Trustees and his co-volunteers in Pewsey Heritage Centre.