Local Face: Tessa Taylor

Tessa and Graeme Taylor came to live in Wendover in 1985. They found a house on the edge of the village, ideal for going to work by day and walking the dogs early morning and evening. They have been very happy there.

The first two years were too busy with work for much local involvement but in 1986 Tessa rejoined BBONT (Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire Nature Trust) after a lapse of several years. This was in anticipation of September 1987 which brought the freedom of early retirement. Once the house had been decorated from top to bottom there was time to devote to conservation work parties on local nature reserves and meetings at Great Missenden Memorial Hall on the third Tuesday of the month, September to March – at 7.45pm. Soon she was taken under the wing of Susan Cowdy of The Lee, a founder member of BBONT, who encouraged Tessa to get involved. This started with refreshments at meetings and by 1990 had led to membership of the Regional Committee. Susan also led Tessa into giving talks.

A trained historian, Tessa was able to put to good use all her professional skills researching and writing the history of Weston Turville Reservoir. Her lecturing circuit widened to include Historical Societies, WI’s and other local groups. In early 1992 Tessa published her booklet, A History of Weston Turville Reservoir, available from Wendover Clock tower, price £2-50, and in March she became Chairman of the Chilterns Regional Committee of BBONT. Instantly her focus had to change from all that good fun conservation to very necessary administration.

Like every other small charity in the land, donations are always welcome, particularly as the financial climate has not yet fully recovered. Almost every weekend now Tessa is out fund raising with sales stalls plus games and competitions at fetes. Our local Wildlife Trust has 20 paid staff, not all full time, mostly involved directly with conservation work. The local volunteers’ branch has two Plant Sales per annum, in May it was in Great Missenden but since 1993 the extremely successful October Plant Sale and Bazaar has been held in Wendover Memorial Hall.

Book the date in your diary now – Saturday 14th October – for garden and house plants, bulbs, cakes, produce, books, pictures, bric-a-brac, china, glass and BBONT stalls plus craft stalls: ornaments, toys, painted china, paintings, patchwork, woodcarving, sweatshirts, basketry; also competitions and tasty refreshments. Admission only 2Op (children with adults free).

Another related activity is attending meetings of Bucks Bird Club in Wendover Memorial Hall, on the first Thursday of the month – October to April- at 8pm, with her husband, Graeme, who is Secretary.

In 1989, Tessa joined Wendover Afternoon WI which meets in Wendover Memorial Hall on the first Thursday of the month (except August) at 2.30pm. In 1990 she became the Secretary but three years later her BBONT responsibilities meant she had to stand down. She remained on the committee for a further two years and still endeavours to be helpful, particularly as a car driver. She was delighted to go to Blackpool this year as a local delegate to the National Intermediate General Meeting. She also continues to give talks to WI’s including morning sessions which are predominantly attended by mothers with young children and evening groups where many of the members are, or have been, in full time work.

In her “spare” time Tessa is also a volunteer for a session a week at each of the Stoke Mandeville Hospital Care of the Elderly Units and Calibre (cassette library for the blind) at Weston Turville.

All in all, Tessa, Graeme and the. dogs are all enjoying a very fulfilling retirement in Wendover.