Warwick man commemorated for legacy to the town

A former principal planning officer with Stratford District Council, who left a substantial legacy to one of the Warwick’s oldest charities, has been commemorated with a plaque on the almshouses his bequest helped to renovate.

The legacy from Roger Smith, who with his wife Mary decided to leave their house in Emscote Road, Warwick, to the Charity of Thomas Oken and Nicholas Eyffler, has paid for the £63,500 renovation and refurbishment of the charity’s almshouses on Castle Hill in Warwick.

The charity’s chairman of finance, Terry Brown, said that four bedsits that were no longer fit for purpose had been converted into two twin bedroom cottages. “Roger left a substantial sum to the charity, a small part of which has enabled us to carry out this modernisation, leaving a large sum for other projects,” he said.

Alan Sturley, a school friend of Mr Smith and a retired trustee of Thomas Oken Trust, said his friend – who died in 2011 aged 84 – had a long established interest in Warwick and a love of the town.

“He was born in Leamington but moved to Warwick when he was two years old. He then lived in the same house for his remaining 82 years. He was a pupil at Warwick School before going off to war at 17 with the Royal Navy (he later wrote a book entitled Shipshape and Bristol Fashion). Although he trained as an accountant he became a town planner and rose to become principal planning officer with Stratford District Council,” said Mr Sturley.

“He had many interests, including coaching fencing – foil, epee and sabre. He was chairman of Leamington Probus Club and of Warwickshire County Council Retired Members’ Association, a committee member of the Royal Warwickshire Regimental Association, and of both the Warwick and Leamington branches of the Royal Naval Association. He was also an active member of the Old Warwickian Association, for whom he acted as ‘official’ photographer. ”

Roger Smith's legacy (1)

Standing by the commemorative wall plaque to Roger Smith outside the Warwick almshouses are (left to right) Thelma Atkins, chairman of the almshouses sub-committee of the Thomas Oken Trust; Alan Sturley and Terry Brown.

Roger and Mary SmithRoger and Mary Smith