Tribute: Tony Mogford MBE

It was with great regret that long standing residents of Wendover (and further afield) learned of the death of Tony Mogford on Good Friday, 15 April, 2022.

The reason for the regrets are because for 70 years, Tony was the go-to person in Wendover to help make things happen. He was Local Face in November 2012,

First and foremost, Tony was a family man. His wife, Mary, was the love of his life. Her Tribute can be read at Their children, Jacky and Edward, are well known in Wendover. Jacky moved away but continued to visit and stay in Wendover as she helped to look after her parents in sickness and in health. Her children are now grown up. Edward became part of the team at Bank Farm and now lives there with his wife, Sue, and their children. Tony was delighted to be a great grandfather twice over.

Tony was famous for his well formed sheep and his flock is highly respected to this day, Edward continuing the work of his father. Tony bred and trained his own beloved sheep dogs, too, giving Halton farmer Michael Blundell the best dog he ever had. Michael was chair of Halton Parish Council for 20 years and Tony was a great friend. Tony had a life-long interest in the latest farming developments. At Berkshire College of Agriculture he was the first student President then Governor for over 50 years including 10 years as Chair then Honorary. In the 1960s and 70s, Tony became involved with Michael in Asclin Cotel, the largest dairy co-op (500 cows) in the land in the 1960s and 70s even though he never kept cows commercially! His input was on the business side. Curiously, we now have the Arla plant near Aston Clinton village, which is the processor for the largest dairy cooperative in the country.

This professional interest led Tony into local government, at first with Aylesbury Rural District Council, then Aylesbury Vale District Council and eventually Buckinghamshire County Council. He retired in 1985, having inspired and opened the original Civic Centre in Aylesbury, now superseded by the magnificent Waterside Theatre.

Tony’s interest in education ranged wider than agriculture. He became chair of governors for several educational establishments including Green Park Youth Training Centre and Aylesbury College. Former Head Teacher of John Colet School, Philip Mitchell confirmed,
“Until very near the time I retired, Tony was the Chair of Governors of John Colet School. My good fortune was that he understood perfectly the roles of the Governing Body, and of the Chair of that body. He was always genuinely interested in the school’s progress, and of the achievements of students. I remember well the questions he would ask about the aims behind plans for the school’s future. His preparations for meetings of the Governing Body were always meticulous. The school had been built after the Second World War when extra capacity was needed for secondary education, but by the 1980’s maintenance costs were growing and major investment was needed. Tony was much involved as we worked with Buckinghamshire Education Committee and County Architects to rebuild the school. His contributions to the many discussions were always much appreciated.

“Tony was also directly involved in the development of Wendover Swimming Pool. Thanks to the work of the School’s Deputy Headteacher, Chris Busby, applications for funding to help develop the pool to the required standards were successful. Again the County Architects Department worked on the improvements to the changing facilities, and I have a good memory of going to France one weekend to look at the flexible, innovative pool covers that were available there. This project resulted in what is still a major public asset for Wendover.”

Tony and Mary were an integral part of the thrust to build Wendover Pool starting with fundraising in the 1970s and continual improvement since. To recognise their involvement, there was always a clamour to name it and there is now a plaque at the pool which reads “The Mogford Community Pool”. Wendover Swimming Pool Trustees said:
“Wendover Swimming Pool are saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Mogford MBE. Tony was an enormous champion for the pool, always very supportive of this asset to the community.”

Tony’s influence on the lives of many in Wendover extends way beyond the educational. He was at hand in the 21st century when two different temporary buildings dating from the 1950s needed considerable refurbishment to survive. These were Wendover Memorial Hall and St Anne’s Hall. He understood the need for well appointed rooms and spaces in which local people could gather for fun and more serious purposes. In each case he was able to manage amazing refurbishments at much lower cost than demolish and rebuild.

Tony was originally a tenant of the Lord of the Manor, Lionel Abel Smith. Together, they ensured that Wendover had land for Tennis, Squash and Bowls Clubs, see pages 9 & 13. The Bowls Club were delighted with his chairing of their AGM, as always, at the end of 2021. Everything and everyone was properly in place under Tony’s leadership. The Football Clubs use John Colet land. Tony chaired Wendover Community Trust, now Lionel Abel-Smith Trust, from its inception, see also page 9, helping countless individuals and organisations. Tony and Lionel both supported the development of Wendover Cricket Club. Unfortunately, the Ellesborough Road pitch is being destroyed by HS2 at this very moment but there are plans for a new pavilion to be built and a new ground prepared.

Tony’s funeral will be at St Mary’s Church, Wendover, at 1.30pm on Friday 27 May. All are welcome to attend. No flowers, please. Any donations to St Mary’s Church.