Berkeley councillor who set up charity shop in Nairobi dies aged 69

Penny Wride
Penny Wride.

Penny Wride who was a parish councillor for over 25 years in Ham and Stone and a Stroud district councillor for the Vale ward for eight years, passed away on Saturday, December 8 at the age of 69.

Born Penny Ann Ewart Williams at Southmead Hospital, Bristol, she inherited her love of travel and adventure along with a sense of duty to help the community from her parents, Stanley and Mary Williams of Yatton Somerset.

From a young age, she began volunteering for a number of organisations including the Red Cross. She also helped the Royal Legion as a Poppy Day collector, a role she continued to fill until her death last year. She was also a member of the Yeo Valley young farmers, where she learned to milk cows, drive a tractor, make cream and hand rear lambs.

After joining the Young Conservatives at the age of 14, she had her first experience of politics and a year later debated ‘The Repeal of Hanging’ at the South West area conference in Torquay with David Hunt and Linda Chalker.

On her 22nd birthday, a fellow Young Conservative friend introduced her to a mysterious young man from Kenya called David Wride, who she married at Yatton Church on April 5, 1972.

A year later, the newlyweds travelled out to Kenya. However, as she couldn’t find paid employment without a work permit, Penny decided instead to set up a charity shop in Nairobi with support from the Swiss Embassy.

She managed to get clothing and items shipped for free from Europe and also sold items crafted by local disabled people.

At her funeral on December 28, Penny’s son delivered her eulogy, saying his mother “would always consider the other person’s point of view or be thinking of helping others.

“Mum appreciated the importance of family and friends whether this be meeting for a weekend away with her old Kenyan friends or her gym’s WhatsApp group, ‘The Fit Chicks’,” he added.

Her Conservative District Council colleagues released a statement on news of her death which described Penny as “a remarkable woman.”

“She was driven by a love of the human race and constantly thought about how she might help people to have a better life.

“She wasn’t political by nature, she just felt that Conservative values were the way her wishes could best be delivered,” the statement said.

Leave a Reply