Wantage residents have celebrated the 40th anniversary of the town's former Poet Laureate.

John Betjeman lived at the Mead in Wantage from 1951 until 1972 and during this time he was given the CBE in 1969 and made Poet Laureate in 1972.

The Wantage Branch of the Betjeman Society arranged a ‘Day to Remember’ Sir John at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his death on 19th May 1984.

The day began with a Church Service led by the Venerable David Meara, President of the Betjeman Society.

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Oxford Mail: The day was held at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage.The day was held at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage. (Image: Ed Nix)

In the tranquil setting of the Convent with the organist and choir of Wantage Parish Church, it was a moving and appropriate tribute to Sir John.

There were 51 members and guests present including Philippa Davies, the Founder of the Society who came from Canterbury the Chair and Vice Chair of the Betjeman Society and members from Derbyshire, Surrey, London and 40 members of Wantage Branch.

After lunch, members were given a short tour of the Convent which Sir John knew well and heard from his friends who told stories about the poet.

His poem ‘Wantage Bells, refers to the Nuns in their Chapel gloom although the lighting has been improved considerably since that was written.

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Oxford Mail: The day was a great success.The day was a great success. (Image: Pat Mattimore)

Secretary Pat Mattimore said: “The celebrations were made more memorable with the presence of Sir John’s famous teddy bear Archie and elephant Jumbo brought along with the permission of Rupert Lycett Green by Garry Gibbons, former curator of the Tom Brown School Museum in Uffington.

“The afternoon followed with poetry readings including ‘On Leaving Wantage’ read by the Founder of the Wantage Branch, Fr. John Salter, and Joan Hunter Dunn and of course Slough.

“We ended with the beautiful poem Trebetherick. It was agreed by all that we truly did have a really wonderful ‘day to remember’.”