Tony West

Tony West died on June 23rd after a short illness.

Tony West was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather, a very good friend to so many and a pillar of our village community.

He was born in Penarth; and it was here that he developed his two big interests in life, everything to do with nature and a love of music. At the age of 13 he started playing the organ in his parish church and so started a lifelong love of organs and organ music. After leaving school Tony went on to study Electrical Engineering at Cardiff Technical College. In 1962 he moved to this area to work for UKAEA, first at Harwell and later at Culham where he stayed until he retired in 1993.

Also in 1962 Tony married Jessie and they moved into their present bungalow as soon as it was completed. Soon after moving to Upton, Tony started playing the organ at Hagbourne church, 10 years later he became full time organist at both Upton and Blewbury and played there and at other churches in the local benefice from then onwards. He was a churchwarden at St Mary’s for the last 20 years and spent countless hours helping to maintain the church and the churchyard. He was particularly involved during the interregnum, and the new lighting, which he designed and installed, will be a long-lasting memorial.

Nor did it take long for Tony to begin his massive contribution to the wider village community. As far back as 1967 he was one of the team who decided that Upton needed a new village hall to replace the existing wooden shed. There was a good deal of self-help involved and Tony was in charge of anything electrical. He was never far away when anything had to be done in the village. Time and again he and Jessie organised functions in the village hall and he became the expert mover of chairs and tables, he helped at the annual fete or simply with something that needed doing to tidy up the village. Only a month ago he was busy in the recreation ground doing his bit on the grass-cutting rota. For several years Tony served on the parish council, including a stint as its chairman.

Tony was also always prepared to help someone in need. He was an original member of the Local Ministry Team for the benefice and on his retirement from UKAEA he undertook voluntary work installing and maintaining personal alarms for the elderly. So many in the village will recollect occasions when his expertise with electrics or computers rescued them in an emergency.

For all these reasons, as well as for his placid good humour, his perpetual goodwill and tolerance, and his selfless service Tony will be sadly missed, by his family, by his countless friends and by our whole community. We thank him for all he did for us.