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Obituary: Anne Butcher – Lyndhurst pre-school founder and former parish councillor

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A FORMER Lyndhurst parish councillor who served the community for more than 35 years and set up a nursery in the village has died aged 92.

Anne Butcher (nee Freeth) was born in Leicester and moved with her family to Ashurst when she was a young girl.

She met her husband Raymond Butcher while working for the Southern Electricity Board, and the couple were married in 1953. Ray had bought a plot of land off Goose Green which their house was built.

Anne Butcher
Anne Butcher

Having had her two children, Annette and Adrian, and without a nursery locally, she decided to remedy the situation by setting up one herself in Empress Road.

For many years Anne ran the pre-school, which was later located at the Vernon Theatre, only retiring when it moved to be incorporated into St Michael and All Angels Infant School.

In a statement, the family said: "Anne saw several generations passing through the nursery, and many Lyndhurst children will remember her fondly."

Anne was involved in many aspects of community life, including the school, church and parish council.

She and Ray were regular worshippers at the Church of St Michael and All Angels, where Anne and the late Dorothy Stanion set up and ran the Little Angels Sunday school.

Anne was also a stalwart of the Parochial Church Council and a dedicated member of Lyndhurst Parish Council for 36 years, having been elected in 1979.

Notable achievements were her work on the Local Plan, her role in promoting the village youth club and her involvement in the Alice Festival.

"This event was intended to foster and encourage community activity over a weekend," the family said. "But it ran for almost a year!

"Her opinion and support was always welcomed. Anne was both loved and respected by many, and valued for her contribution, politeness, kindness and diversity of approach.

"She made a lifelong contribution to the people of Lyndhurst by being involved in so many aspects of village life.

"She was very community-minded and renowned for always being found serving the refreshments, and inevitably having baked a cake too!"

Lyndhurst Community Centre also benefited from Anne's involvement as chair of the committee, and as president of the Fenwick Hospital League of Friends she supported many fundraising activities.

She was also an active member of the then Emery Down and Bank Women's Institute, becoming the group's last ever president.

The family added: "Embracing the principles of campaigning on a wide range of issues and providing lifelong learning and self-development opportunities for women, Anne enjoyed the convivial meetings, craft and plays, in particular."

In later years, Anne was involved in the voluntary organisation Lyndhurst Neighbourcare, providing transport and support for those in need.

Aged 89 and suffering from dementia, she moved out of her Lyndhurst home and into the Hartwood House care home in the village.

A private funeral was held on Tuesday 4th January and a thanksgiving service will be held later in the year.

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