Local Face: Barbara Whitaker

If you live in Halton, you won’t see Barbara Whitaker walking her dog in the leafy lanes. Nor are you likely to see her at endless local committee meetings because she freely admits that she does not do any work for the village. You may well recognise her name, however, because she is always very quick to write to the local press if she sees something that doesn’t make sense.

When Barbara and Peter Whitaker were house hunting 18 years ago they needed to live within easy travelling distance of London but wanted a semi-rural environmental. They found a delightful newly built house on a small development in a little Buckinghamshire village they had never heard of and have lived there ever since.

This makes Barbara typical of many local people. She was not bom here. She loves living here. She looks to the general area rather than confining herself to only what is on her doorstep. She likes it here so much that she wants to share the experience with others That is why she gets very angry when other newcomers band themselves together to stop new development. She is particularly angry that very little provision has been made for young people to come and settle in the area. Her own son moved away from the area to qualify and settled down in a reasonably priced starter home on a well designed little development. He looked for but could not find anything similar here. Barbara hopes that local planners will include this type of development which benefits from the care the houseproud first time buyer tends to lavish on a property.

Times change, families grow up, move on and in 1988 Barbara became a young member of the University of the Third Age, U3A. She is proud to be member number 2 of the Aylesbury Branch. In U3A, members can offer their skills for the benefit of other members so Barbara teaches Spanish to a class which includes a student in his 8O’s who works very hard on his verbs and vocabulary: a very humbling experience, she says.

The highlight of the U3A month is the excursion, organised by Barbara. Recent venues have included the Met Office, Lambeth Palace, the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery, Althorp, where possible reinforcing the topic in the monthly lecture. This leads naturally to the annual holiday. In recent years Barbara has taken 50 people aged 50 + to a University campus and shown them the surrounding area. Sheffield was the base for exploring Derbyshire, Durham for the North East, Cardiff for the Rhondda Valley. In1993 they will visit the Trough of Bowland in the Ribble Valley in non-student accommodation. Back home again,

Barbara is very sad that the MOD no longer allows locals to walk on their land. It may sound reasonable to keep out strangers but the regulars used to provide an excellent Police Force free of charge, always noticing and reporting anything out of the ordinary.

Barbara Whitaker has worked locally and enjoys using the choice offered by the shops in Wendover. She regrets the passing of the Halton Village. Shop and wonders whatever happened to the Halton Village Pub?