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Memorial bench back on green after seven-year absence
Buy this photo » Christine Hill at the bench in St John’s Green which is a tribute to her parents. Picture: OX53326 Antony Moore
A SEAT dedicated to the memory of Wallingford couple Katherine and Jim Ely is back after a seven-year absence.
The couple lived in the town all their lives and the seat was put in St John’s Green as a tribute.
But it had to be removed seven years ago after the oak tree it surrounded became diseased and was cut down.
A lime tree has now grown in the oak tree’s place and on Monday the couple’s family attended a ceremony as town council staff returned the seat.
Daughter Christine Hill, 65, from Haslemere, Surrey, who used to run a public relations firm in Wallingford, returned to the town with husband David Hill, and son Gary Hill, to see the metal seat reinstated.
She said: “It was mum’s idea to put the seat here because she thought it would be a good spot for people to have a rest on their way to the hospital.
Christine HillThe majority of town councillors voted in 2010 that the seat should be put back once the tree roots had grown properly
“Over the past few years, people in the town were puzzled by the absence of the semi-circular seat and wrote to the Oxford Mail to try to find out where it was.
“The majority of town councillors voted in 2010 that the seat should be put back once the tree roots had grown properly.”
Mrs Ely – known to her friends as Kitty – was born in the Rowbarge pub in St Leonard’s Lane, and died aged 76 in 1983.
Mr Ely was born in Goldsmiths Lane and he and his wife spent all their married life in Wood Street, Wallingford.
Mr Ely, a storeman at the John Wilder agricultural firm, died aged 86 in 1990.
After Mrs Ely died, Mr Ely decided that he wanted to establish a permanent memorial seat and he and the family paid for it to be installed in St John’s Green in 1984.
Mayor Ros Lester joined Mrs Hill and her family to celebrate the bench’s return.
She said: “The town council was delighted to be able to help this old Wallingford family.
“We have had the seat restored and put back in more or less the same place.”
A previous seat which was in the same location was taken away during the Second World War to be used for munitions.
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