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Waste: the need for change
“We are faced with the horrifying offence of pollution (…) Millions of us on this island using non-returnable bottles and indestructible plastic containers. It is not difficult to imagine the mountains of refuse that we will have to deal with somehow"
said Prince Charles in 1970.
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“Never take anything for granted” but, of course, we all do. We may live in Cobham or pass through it, but I wonder if we ever pause to appreciate its interesting features or stop to reflect that it takes careful thought, skilful planning, and a great deal of effort to preserve the things that give us pleasure."
These words were written by our President, Gordon Mills in the Foreword to the Short History and Guide to the Cobham Conservation Areas in November 1980. He was, at the time, the Chairman of the Cobham Conservation Group. Sadly Gordon passed away on Monday 11th March 2019 and he will be a great loss to the community.
Gordon was born in Cardiff on the 22 September 1931. He moved to Cobham when he married Olive in 1956. He worked for the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group all his working life, being their longest serving employee when he retired as a Chief Surveyor. The nature of his work gave him a great insight into the architectural features and history of Churches, Cathedrals and Stately Homes.
The demolition of Gamage’s store on Cobham High Street was the catalyst to create Cobham Conservation Group in 1973, with others who were passionate to preserve Cobham. He was Chairman of the Group for many years and was proud of the group’s achievements, with conservation status being awarded to various parts of Cobham and Downside. When the Conservation Group was relaunched in November 2005 as the Cobham Conservation & Heritage Trust, Gordon became it’s President.
Gordon was an active member of the community, being involved with the Labour Party, 1st Cobham Scouts, School PTA’s, and in the restoration of Cobham Mill. He was a JP, and as a magistrate sat mainly in the family court, initially at Walton until it closed, and then at Guildford. He vigorously campaigned for a footpath from Cobham to Downside, and the building of a bridge at Ash Ford which has enabled thousands of people to enjoy the circular walk from Cobham, through Downside and back via Stoke D’Abernon.
Gordon was married for over 60 years to Olive with a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren. To mark their diamond wedding anniversary the family commissioned a bench to be placed on Downside Common for others to enjoy the conservation area he cared about so much.