Anne Wilks, 1918-2012

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We are sad to report that our vice-president Anne Wilks has died aged 93.

Anne lived for most of her life in Kent and was a tireless campaigner for commons, greens and public paths. She moved to Kent in 1924 and lived in Seasalter, Whitstable and finally Gravesend.

Anne claimed countless paths for the official map, and a multitude of commons and village greens, securing them for public access and enjoyment. The people of Kent owe Anne a huge debt of gratitude for the land and paths which she recorded and saved—Duncan Down and a string of village greens along the Kent coast, to name a few.

Her friend and fellow-campaigner for the last 60 years, Pat Wilson, says:

‘By her belief in the power of the written word, and in the power of her individual principles backed by evidence which she meticulously checked and argued, she was a rock.

Photo: Kent Messenger Group

‘In the post-war era, obstructions on paths abounded, with very few signs, and crops seldom removed. Anne and I rapidly became involved in local public inquiries, magistrates’ court hearings and appeals.

‘And when it came to claiming commons and greens under the Commons Registration Act 1965 before the 1970 deadline, Anne offered for some of us to submit our findings through her so that she would “swear” them before a Justice of the Peace. Anne did not drive but sometimes when she needed to inspect potential land to claim she boarded a double-decker bus and travelled back and forth, seeing over the hedges to check the terrain.

‘To the end, Anne never grumbled or moaned, she was always alert and full of verve and fun. Her spirit was indomitable.’

With her husband Hector, she was a founder member of the Kent Wildlife Trust in 1958. In 1999 she received an award from the Lord Mayor of Canterbury for her work on public rights of way and for the community.

Anne has asked that, instead of flowers, donations can be made to the Open Spaces Society, the Ramblers or the British Heart Foundation.

Please complete and return the form below if you would like us to be able to claim Gift Aid on your donation.

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