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Tributes pour in for the late Ann Harley, one of Marlborough’s citizens of the year

Anne HarleyAnne HarleyMother of three Ann Harley, who has died suddenly while undergoing treatment for cancer in the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, was Marlborough’s Citizen of the Year in 2010.

Tributes have poured in for the community minded mother and grandmother, who died last Friday March with members of her family at her bedside.

Ann Harley, who was born in Marlborough, was one of those people who could never say 'No' when asked to do something for her community.

Her community work, fundraising and generosity was legend said former Marlborough mayor Stewart Dobson.  His mayoral ball was one of many at which Mrs Harley volunteered to run the tombola in aid of charities, usually local.

Councillor Dobson said: “She did so much for the town for many, many years.  Whatever function you put on you could ask Ann Harley to help and many mayors like myself relied on her to organise the tombola at their mayoral balls.

“She was able to combine a very busy working life while doing so much for the community.”

Another former mayor, Councillor Peggy Dow, said:  “She raised so much money for me at my two mayors’ balls…she couldn’t do enough for Marlborough.

“She was a workaholic but she loved Marlborough.  She thought so much of our town and cared so much for Marlborough.”

Mrs Harley had helped organise the annual Christmas Day lunch for the town’s senior citizens over the last 10 years raising money towards them and helping run them in Marlborough Town Hall.

She ran the town’s oldest taxi business Marlborough Taxis, formerly called Harley Travel, along  with her husband Ray.

Town councillor Justin Cook who also runs a taxi business said:  “Ann was a pillar of the community.

“Ann was tough but also very sweet at the same time.  We had our ups and downs but if I ever needed a job covering Ann would always oblige and vice versa.”

Ann Harley was born in Marlborough, daughter of the late Dick and Hilda Milsom and her childhood home was in Chiminage Close.

She attended St Mary’s girls school and Marlborough Grammar School leaving at 16.  From the age of 19-22 she was a telephonist in the town’s telephone exchange behind the old Post Office in High Street.

At the age of 16 she joined the Territorial Army where she learned to drive, leaving shortly before her marriage.

Mr and Mrs Harley made their home at 117 London Road where their three children, Joanne, Susan and Jonathon came along.  Eventually the couple had six grandchildren, Christopher, Elizabeth, Thomas, Catherine, Harrison and Fraser.

Mrs Harley always supported the town’s carnivals and at the age of 17 was a carnival queen attendant.

Carnival stalwart Ian Philpott said of her death:  “This is a sad day for Marlborough…she did so much for the town.”

It is expected that St Mary’s Church will be packed for a service of celebration of her life next Friday (April 11) at 11.30am. C remation attended by members of her family only will have already taken place at Kingsdown Crematorium at Swindon.

Her sons in law Steven and Simon and two of her grandchildren, Christopher and Thomas will be pall bearers.

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