Tribute: Mary Sanderson

  |  Published: Jan 1st 2009
mary sanderson

1918 - 2008

Many Wendover residents will have known Mary Sanderson and will therefore know what a great loss her passing is to Wendover. She was a great stalwart of many Wendover organisations, from Save the Children, the Tennis & Squash Club, Conservatives, the Baby Clinic - and it didn't stop there.

Mary put so much into the life of this village over so many years, with her dedicated commitment to everything she was involved in. We were fortunate to have known Mary and it is difficult to imagine Wendover without her.

Her family refrained from putting any more than this short paragraph in the January 2009 edition of Wendover News but we are delighted to publish tributes by individuals who knew her.


I knew Mary vaguely through my parents (former district councillor) Jack, and Jess Marsh who continually bumped into her at Wendover Society, Conservatives,Village Quiz nights and many more. I'd occasionally met her myself in my few forays into the local tennis club, but only got to know - and appreciate her particular style - when I offered to hold a coffee morning to raise funds for Save the Children. This charity, for whom I understand Mary was instrumental in raising approximately £250,000 during her time, took over her garage and shared part of her home with Mary and whichever dog she was currently allied with, for a good 2 months per year, storing and sorting cards, goods and monies, so that ALL the different kinds of people who MIGHT be tempted to buy SCF goods would almost certainly see them somewhere in Wendover during the pre Xmas period!(Mary seemed somehow to charm a host of willing helpers who did support her with this - too many to name).

Mary was straightforward to deal with she had kept the habits of precision and no-nonsense learned, presumably, from her interesting military up bringing. Blunt to a fault, at times, I've found few people who have not enjoyed both Mary's company and the fruits of her local endeavours. It is hard to imagine anyone more involved with both good and local causes than Mary, behind her bluff exterior, I found her to be capable of thoughtfulness and if she thought she could do a good turn, in my experience, she would. Wendover (and the Bistro on an extended Thursday lunchtime!) will miss her; also her great friend Irene Coulton, who has sadly followed her so swiftly.
Jean Cowell.



This is a small tribute to Mary Sanderson, whom I greatly respected and admired.

My wife and I have lived in Wendover for over thirty five years and it has been a wonderful place to bring up a family.

My first memories of Mary were in connection with the tennis club of which she was a strong supporter. Our three children played there frequently and the club was of particular benefit during the summer holidays. After the children had left home, she would often ask me about their progress. Later, one of our sons moved back to Wendover and she then took a keen interest in our grandchildren who now play there.

Since my retirement, I have had many opportunities for a chat when we have met in Dobbins Lane. At her funeral, we heard about her full and varied life and her many activities in the village – not only the tennis club but the baby clinic, Save the Children and her hard work for the Conservative party. One of my last memories of her was at an open garden event last summer. This was in aid of Save the Children. Mary was there manning a stall with her good friend Irene Colton and we had a very pleasant chat about old times.
Chris Peeler


Mary Sanderson & Save the Children

Having volunteered to help Mary when she told me that the Treasurer of the Aylesbury Branch had died in 2007 and that they were desperate, I now find myself with all her records going back over the last 46 years.

It seems that she started collecting for the Save the Children Fund (as it was then called) back in 1962. A letter of thanks from Diana Good, Vice-Chairman of the Aylesbury Branch, living at St. Osyth’s, Parsons Fee, Aylesbury thanks Mary for raising the “splendid” sum of £70.

In March 1963 another letter of thanks from Joan Watson, the Chairman living at the Old Barn Aylesbury, states “I think I am correct in saying that no individual organiser has ever before raised so much during the 11 years we have been doing these collections” - (no mention of how much!)

In January 1964 Mary was asked if she would “officially” become a member of the Branch. It has now been estimated that over these 46 years she was instrumental in raising almost a quarter of a million pounds (£250,000) for Save the Children a great achievement.

In 1994, the 75th Birthday Year of Save the Children, Mary received a letter personally signed by The Princess Royal, President of Save the Children, thanking her for her continued support for the charity.

In May 2006, Jasmine Whitbread, the present Chief Executive of Save the Children wrote to thank Mary for her commitment over 43 years. Finally, I found an invitation from September 2007 to the naming of a First Great Western Train by The Princess Royal and afterwards Mary was to be presented to her.

Mary continued to raise funds for Save the Children right up until the time she was taken into hospital, a few days before her death at the age of 90. Her stock of goods and Christmas cards was always available from her garage, which was never used to park the car! Friends and neighbours could pop in at any time to buy the odd thing they wanted. She was known throughout Wendover as being the “Save the Children” lady, most people didn’t even know there was an Aylesbury Branch – it was just Mary. Having done the work for so long there was hardly anyone in Wendover that she didn’t know and, of course, she took a great interest in them and their families too.

As to the future, the Committee met in January and decided to continue as Mary would have wanted. Please do come along and support Save the Children events in Wendover.
Christine Baker

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