Friday 8 March 2013 saw the end of an era for the village of Wrington. It was the day we said
goodbye to Philippa Perks, and the end of years of service that she and Oliver gave to the village and
the wider community.
Both were born in Bristol, Oliver in 1920 and Philippa in 1925. Following school at Blundells and only
one year at Oxford, Oliver, during the war, served with the Royal Artillery in the Middle East and at D-
Day. They married in 1946 and lived in Cheshire before moving back to Clevedon from where Oliver
worked for the Bristol Motor Company and then Rolls Royce. It was following that employment that
the connection with Wrington began.
Oliver took the job of Bank Clerk in the Wrington branch of the Natwest Bank. He got to know the
villagers well and was specially popular with children, to whom he dispensed sweets when they visited
the bank. Whilst living in Clevedon, Philippa became involved with the National Consumer Council
and became its first non-professional member. She also took up work with the WRVS becoming a
regional and central organiser. She continued with meals-on-wheels and the lunch clubs for many
Also at that time she became a JP, sitting as a magistrate in the Long Ashton Magistrates' Court at
Flax Bourton. That court was known as the fairest magistrates'court in the Bristol and Somerset area,
especially after she became chairman. She reluctantly took on the task of guiding the not very popular
amalgamation with the Weston-super-Mare Bench which in those days did not have quite the same
reputation for fairness, but, under Philippa's chairmanship fairness flourished. Furthermore, in order to
ensure that those whom she had to send to prison should be treated properly, she became a prison visitor and a member of the Board of
Horfield Prison and ultimately Chairman.
In about 1977 they moved to Southacre, just inside the Wrington boundary. Oliver became a stalwart of the Wrington British Legion. He
assisted Philippa in setting up and running the Wrington Helpline, and they continued to do so until very recently. Philippa was a regular
supplier of homemade pies and pastries to the WI market. Her everlasting passion was her garden, and she was a regular contributor to
the Village Journal with her gardening notes.
They were both long time members of the National Trust, and in 1987 Philippa
joined the 16 year project to build the Mendip dry stone wall. She was still at this
at the age of 77, and was known as " Hadriana". Life for her came full circle when
she became a voluntary guide at Tyntesfield, with more knowledge of the house
than any other, her schoolhaving been evacuated there in the war, and having
spent summer holidays there as a guest of the Gibbs family.
In 1996 Philippa was deservedly rewarded with her appointment as a Member of
the British Empire. In true style, because Oliver's condition prevented him from
travelling to London for the investiture, she settled for a private presentation by
Sir John Wills at Langford Court.
Philippa' great faith was her constant support. She was a regular attender at 8am
communion, and for many years she sang with the Wrington Choral Society. She
and Oliver faced and overcame great sadness with the death of their son Jonny,
the continuing illness of their elder daughter, Sally and the tragic fatal accident of
their grandson-inlaw. It was a great sadness to them both when age, which they
never recognised, forced them to leave Southacre. They could never face the prospect of going into a care home, but finally Oliver became
too ill to stay at home and they went to a place in Weston-super-Mare, where he died at the beginning of November.
Philippa, although very frail, returned home, but life was never the same without Oliver, whom she missed dreadfully. Always thoughtful of
others, always seeing the best in everybody, she died on Thursday 21 February.