Local Face: Wendy Shute

  |  Published: Apr 1st 1997

Before Wendy Shute even arrived to live in Wendover, she discovered what a public spirited place it is. A young man was walking home along the Tring Road late one night in early 1984 and noticed flames coming from one of the Cold Harbour cottages. He immediately called the fire brigade (Wendover still had its own retained fire fighters) who not only pulled burning reeds from the thatched roof but also sleeping neighbours who would otherwise have suffocated. But where were the owners? Wendy and Nick Shute, with 6 week old Adam, were in Wimbledon preparing to move to their dream cottage three days later.

Fortunately the Henry VIII ships' beams were still intact so it was possible to restore the cottage which had been built circa 1533 as part of the dowry of Anne Boleyn. The Shute family quickly rented another property and Nick was soon posted to Oman (they had previously been in Saudi Arabia). Finally, in 1986, they were able to move to Wendover where Katie was born.

Wendy had always been a keen tennis player through school, university and her early career as a Ministry of Defence Maps Research Officer so she soon joined Wendover and Chiltern Hills Tennis Club. As well as looking after family and home, became involved in the Liffre exchanges - she still holds the Liffre cup. As time went on, she also joined Halton Village Lawn Tennis Club and by chance discovered that it was Alan Geddes, RAF Tennis Centre Manager, who had acted so promptly over the house fire.

Wendy became Membership secretary for four years but now helps to organise some of the Junior teams. Wendy plays regularly for senior teams and in the Chiltern Singles League.

While her children were still very small, Wendy was very active in the South and Mid-Bucks branch of the NSPCC. Wendy's particular fundraiser was the Family Barn Dances held in a hangar at Halton. The money raised by a branch stays in the area. Wendy was able to visit the Child Protection Team in Milton Keynes which demonstrated so well the importance of this work.

Once Katie was at school Wendy was able to deliver Meals-on-Wheels and she has been a regular volunteer helper at the TocH shop since it opened. At the same time Wendy was a volunteer helper at John Hampden First School, variously assisting with cooking, sewing, Short Tennis Club and anything else as required. When Adam went up to Wendover Middle School, Wendy joined the PTA Committee and has been chairing it for the past two years. The role of the PTA has changed in recent years. It used to provide extras to enhance the resources of the school. Now its contribution is needed to provide essential items such as topic text books. The two main fund raising events are the Strawberry Fayre, this year on Saturday 21st June, and the Art Exhibition during October Half Term. Everyone is very welcome to enjoy these events which are part of the Wendover Calendar.

Since January 1996 Wendy has been a volunteer helper at Stepping Stones therapeutic playgroup for children with special needs, attached to Stoke Mandeville Hospital's Children Centre. More than 20 volunteer helpers give their time 1, 2 or 3 mornings every week and their expertise is backed by visiting health, educational and social services professionals. The work is often one-to-one and Wendy is concerned with a child diagnosed with autism. As well as training courses through Stepping Stones, Wendy is currently studying at High Wycombe and Amersham College for a City and Guilds course in learning support.

Wendy's husband, Nick, manages and coaches the Wendover Junior Football Team (UI3). They are actively preparing for the Liffre exchange which Wendover Junior Football Club is hosting in May.

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