Ex-councillor’s heart was in the community

Witney Gazette: Ann Cooper holding a copy of The Times from 1797, found during repair work at a council-owned office in Woodstock in 1986 Ann Cooper holding a copy of The Times from 1797, found during repair work at a council-owned office in Woodstock in 1986

A FORMER councillor and Woodstock town clerk has died aged 78.

Ann Cooper began her career in local government as parish clerk at Shipton on Cherwell and Thrupp after applying on the suggestion of family friend Alderman Frank Wise.

She held similar positions at Freeland, Cumnor and Shipton.

In 1974, on her own initiative, she suggested to the newly established Cherwell District Council that Shipton should be designated as a conservation area.

The result was Cherwell district’s first conservation area which included the canal side development of Thrupp, Shipton Church and Manor as well as the ruins of Hampton Gay.

Following local government reorganisation she was appointed clerk to the newly formed Woodstock Town Council where her first task was to retain the council’s corporate estate.

Mrs Cooper was also involved in the restoration of Woodstock Town Hall, a project which cost in the region of £250,000 in today’s money.

After 14 years she resigned her post as town clerk for family reasons but went on to become a town and district councillor.

On West Oxfordshire District Council she was both chairman of the housing committee and the vice chairman of leisure and tourism.

She was always interested in the provision of recreational facilities and it was only last year that she stepped down from the Oxfordshire Playing Field Association, by which point she had became a Vice President.

Ann Giles was born in the north Oxfordshire village of Somerton where her father was the final station master before station closed in the 1950s.

She attended Gosford Hill Secondary School and became head girl.

In 1955 she married Roy Cooper who was then a quantity surveyor with the former Ministry of Works.

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Over the years they were posted around the country before a new job at with Oxford University’s surveyors department brought them back to the county.

They settled on the Hensington Gate estate in Woodstock, where last year Mrs Cooper became the lady resident living the longest period of time at the same estate address.

While she was town clerk in Woodstock her eldest son Phillip – who was taking his A-Levels at Gosford Hill – was admitted to hospital.

He had become a Three Counties Badminton Champion in 1974, but then he and died of cancer in the Churchill Hospital two months later.

Mrs Cooper died on November 11 and is survived by her husband Roy, three sons Andrew, Julian and Adrian and granddaughter Paula.

Her funeral took place on Monday at St Mary Magdalene church.


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