Reprinted from Newsletter 114, dated 2005 February

Maureen Luckes, friend of Wearyall trees

A black-and-white photograph of an old woman. She has curly grey hair and smiles at the camera.

Maurene Luckes

It is with sadness I record the death of Maurene Luckes, who lived with painful arthritis throughout her life. She died on January 7 aged 80.

I first met Maurene back in 1952. She lived with her father Alan James at Hillview in Street Road, and at that time the veterinary practice was run from Highfield, the Fletchers’ house nearby; the surgery was near the Fishers Hill junction in the building recently demolished.

I would see Maurene regularly walk her liver-coloured labrador onto nearby Wearyall Hill, owned by the family. Algie and Norman James were directors of John Snow & Co, whose timber yard was then in its heyday. Maurene worked some time in in the firm’s office and also in the tax office at Wells. She had a wide circle of friends.

Our paths crossed less often when the veterinary practice moved from Street Road and each of us got married. Then when our Conservation Society started tree-planting seriously we looked to Wearyall Hill as a worthy site. First Geoff Brunt planted a few oaks along Street Road, and St Dunstan’s pupils some specimen trees along the boundary with Bushy Coombe Gardens. Ian Rands took over the tree-planting and with the aid of a bequest first restored the deteriorating copse and then extended it. After this a line of oaks was completed along Street Road.

None of this would have been possible without the permission of the James family who own the hill. When Algie died some 20 years ago Maurene inherited his half-share; Norman left his half to his four sons. About 18 months ago Maurene gave her half-share to the four sons. She always took a great interest in this planting and was keen to see its success, no doubt remembering the pleasure she had enjoyed when walking the dog in younger days.

Maurene married Leslie Luckes in 1966 and lived in increasing retirement at Chalice Hill Close. Her oak trees live on as a memorial to her.