Bob WiseOne of the country’s longest serving local journalists, Marlborough father of three Bob Wise has died at the age of 92 after an amazing career of over 70 years broken only by his war service.
Mr Wise, who was married to his wife Elsie for 57 years was editor of the former Marlborough Times, worked as sub editor on the Swindon Advertiser and as a racing correspondent and tipster for the Wiltshire Gazette.
His wife was at his bedside when he died at the Miranda nursing home in Royal Wootton Bassett in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Home for most of his married life was at Upper Churchfields in Marlborough where he and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary seven years ago.
He is survived by his wife, three children, Rosalind, Roger and Robin, and by two grandchildren, Cecilia and Samuel.
There will be a burial service for family and close friends only on Tuesday (August 11) at Marlborough Cemetery in Frees Avenue followed at 2.30pm by a service of thanksgiving for his life, in St Mary’s Church.
Mr Wise was brought up at West Overton, not far from the famous racing stables at Beckhampton and Manton that were to be a major feature in his life.
His family believes his love of racing probably started when a favourite uncle used to let him race snails on their doorstep!
He left Marlborough Grammar School at 16 to be apprenticed as a reporter on the former Marlborough Times and he was midway through his training when he joined the Home Guard before being called up into the Royal Air Force.
He worked in the RAF wireless communications section and his service took him to the Far East where by an amazing coincidence he bumped into his only brother, the late Alan Wise who died five years ago, who was also in the armed forces.
When peace returned in Europe, Mr Wise returned to reporting on the local paper meanwhile building up his contacts in the world of racing that enabled him in later life to become a widely respected racing correspondent and tipster.
He moved to the Swindon Advertiser and enjoyed the cut and thrust of daily journalism for some years before returning to the Marlborough Times as its editor, a position he held for many years.
Bob, as he was generally known, was interested in all aspects of sport and played soccer for his village side as a youngster and it was while playing tennis on the old grammar school courts in Elcot Lane that he met Elsie. In later life he became one of the leading snooker players at Marlborough Conservative Club.
Mrs Wise said: “Bob loved all sports but racing was the thing he liked most.”
He wrote a weekly column for the Handicap Book for more than 30 years and after retiring continued writing a weekly racing column for the Wiltshire Gazette well into his eighties.
As a Gazette journalist, Nigel Kerton worked alongside Mr Wise in Marlborough for almost 50 years. He told Marlborough News Online: “Bob was the old fashioned journalist who had a network of contacts in every village, always researched his stories thoroughly and was well respected by all who knew him."
“As an editor he encouraged numerous young journalists into their careers and although I worked on a rival paper he gave me a lot of help in my early days and we became lasting friends.”
John and Judith Woodget, pic courtesy of Anthony SpenderJudith has been a major figure in Lockeridge village life for years and years.
She was a busy lady as she had a garden design business to run, and latterly an important role as granny to her family; this involved frequent trips to Seattle where son Matthew lives and works. She was a very keen reader - she was a member of a thriving literary group, and for a long period was running her own book club at the same time.
Nonetheless she was a cheerful, willing and long-serving Parish Councillor - experienced in planning issues, particularly those to do with conservation, and an extremely enthusiastic figure in innovative Parish traffic calming projects. Together we set up a village seminar with an international expert on traffic management, and the village hall was packed out to listen to him. She was tireless in continuing to try every means to introduce his ideas into the village.
Her work as a School Governor to Kennet Valley school was also something that demanded great perseverance and patience as she and her fellow governors succeeded in extending the Lockeridge site to contain what had hitherto been a two-site school, in East Kennett and Lockeridge. At one stage, even poor John was called in to try to chair an excitable village meeting! That seems a long time ago now as the school progresses calmly and well. Judith turned to the happier task of designing a “spiritual garden” within the school grounds, recently completed, which will now surely be a lasting memorial to her.
She always supported anything that brought villagers together, and she and John were leading lights in establishing our annual Christmas drinks on Lockeridge Dene. This December will feel very strange indeed without them.
Recently John retired from his heavy job at Intel, and he was looking forward to many happy outings in his pre-war Bentley. He had been a “petrol head” since he was a boy. My husband also has a classic car, and John and Judith had for the first time joined us in our trip to an Air Pageant in Oxfordshire, where we had a lovely day picnicking together with other classic car friends. We had been planning to take our cars abroad to attend Rolls Royce/Bentley Rallies in Europe, and the usual Woodget enthusiasm was in overdrive as we discussed various exciting alternatives.
Three weeks later, West Overton church was full and overflowing – standing room only – as we said goodbye to them, with flowers everywhere and the sun shining outside.
We will miss them so much.
see 'Lockeridge stunned by the loss of a popular couple in a tragic road accident'
From Matthew Woodget's blog of July 24:
When those you love are killed
It’s been five days since they died. Since they were killed. Both of them. My loving parents who I was very close with. As were my sisters. As were our spouses. They adored and were worshiped by their grandchildren. They are gone forever. There will be no new memories made. They are now in the past.
It’s unbearably painful.
Floods of emotion
At first even breathing was impossible. I learned to do that again. It’s like that with everything now.
They say time heals all wounds. It’s hard to believe that at this moment.
What is it like to learn to cope with such a tragic loss? It is as if all my sadness and fear and tears are kept shut behind a door. The problem is that all of my memories of my parents are also behind that door. I crouch down and peak through the key hole. Sometimes I see sadness. Sometimes I remember. Sometimes I smile.
Smiling seemed impossible a few days ago.
Sometimes the door get’s kicked open.
Sometimes it’s mum. Sometimes it’s dad. Sometimes both together.
They come bursting from behind the door in a flood of emotion.
The thought of dealing with reality right now is unbearable. I’ve become intimately aware that whilst grieving one has to manage things like a funeral and the execution of a will and estate.
It’s exhausting. Literally.
Walking beside us
Wise people have said to me that you never get over the loss of a loved one. In this case two loved ones, lost in one tragic accident. They say that you learn to integrate the loss into your life. That it becomes a part of you. Once I heard it described that as your heart heals you will have them walk beside you.
They will live on through us; in our DNA and in what we know about them "Dad would totally say that", "Mum would not be happy with that!" In this future there are there, with us. Living on through our memories of them. There are glimpses of this comfort. Then we slip back into sorrow.
Grief is a journey we must take. Whilst seeking to celebrate their lives.
If I could be half of what either my Mother or Father were then I will have achieved a great thing.
Their love knew no bounds. The community and beyond benefited from their warmth and generosity. The outpouring of grief and support has been a chorus of broken hearts. We deeply appreciate everything everyone has done from simple "I’m sorry" to hugs to friends going above and beyond to help with everything from driving, cars, airport runs, food, cooking. I honestly don’t know what we would do without you.
For those kind enough to make a gift we would be honored if you could make it to the charity my father was chairperson of, The Wiltshire Community Foundation – ad specifically to the "John and Judith Woodget Fund". They would have been "tickled pink" by any donations that helped them help others despite them not being around to explicitly help any more. A fitting tribute to their lives.
I love you mum and dad. I will forever.
Below is a picture of my beloved parents on their 40th Wedding Anniversary in 2013. Mum is wearing her wedding dress.
This image is from my personal collection and is copyright © Matthew Woodget 2013 all rights reserved and reproduction completely prohibited. Family and friends of course can contact me for a copy
Blog reproduced courtesy of Matthew Woodget