It is with a sad and heavy heart that we have to announce that Val passed away on Tuesday 2nd August 2022. Val fought this awful disease with such courage and determination. She was an inspiration to us all. With a constant smile on her face to the end and a determination to never give up, we have much to learn from her life, values and spirit. A truly inspiring and loving person who will be so missed, she made our community a better place to live. We will never forget her.
Thank you to all of you who supported this appeal and gave Val precious time and hope.
Lesley Woolley and Liz Dowen
Val lived in Sidbury for a year in 1992 and did some voluntary work for WWII vets who were being denied disability benefits from injury sustained in the war effort. She moved to Harpford in 1993 and shortly after joined the Rainbow Playgroup committee as her boys attended there. She later joined NP school PTFA and became a school governor. She was also involved in admin for the Saturday sports club and became Treasurer of Sidmouth College PTFA. Around 2013 Val became interested in EDDC matters when it was proposed to move the council from the Knowle to new premises in Honiton. She also began to follow local development and was shocked by some of the tactics used by developers and what she saw as a very biased system, with promises made and broken, and different rules applied to different applicants. She joined the parish council in 2014 and subsequently ran as an independent councillor for EDDC in 2015 and was elected with a clear majority. She was re-elected in 2019 and has remained in post since then, now as Vice-Chariman of the Council. She became part of the Democratic Alliance which is a collaboration between independent councillors, Liberal democrats and Green candidates in a bid to put politics aside and work on behalf of residents regardless of their political alliance. Along the way she was involved in ensuring Harpford Hall was retained as a community asset, and has campaigned for the retention of the red bridge over the River Otter to ensure residents have a safe walking route to and from Newton Poppleford and Tipton, as well as safety improvement measures on Four Elms Hill which should finally complete in July.
Val taught at Exeter College from 1993 until going on sick leave in November 2020, mainly working with Access to Higher Education students across a range of pathways; these are mature students seeking a career change and access to university. She also taught first aid courses locally and shorthand to local newspaper reporters.
Her sons live and work locally and are a great support. Friends have been been amazing, accompanying her for treatment both locally and in London, providing food, hugs, mopping up tears, clearing up the house and garden, doing medical research on her behalf, walking and talking and ensuring there is still time for laughter.
A wonderful and inspiring person – Owl