THE death has been announced of the linchpin of Church Hill Big Local, Wendy Johnson.
Wendy, who was 67, was chair of the Big Local Partnership for six pf the past eight years having been involved with the organisation right from the very beginning in 2012.
Together with her husband Ian she was a key figure in the part it has played enhancing life on the Redditch estate, which is home to some 8,000 residents with more than half its households in socio economic terms described as ‘financially stretched’.
She was also a governor at Arrow Vale High School for over a decade holding the positions first of vice chair and then as chair for just under two years.
Her children were educated at the school and she wanted to give something back.
She was also a founder member of the Save the Alex campaign in 2012.
In a statement Big Local said: “It is with deep sadness and heartache that we at Church Hill Big Local Partnership share the news that our Chair, Wendy Johnson, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, October 2, 2020.
“Wendy was the heart of Church Hill Big Local, involved from the very beginning back in 2012.
“She spent the last six years as Partnership Chair and was the driving force behind the efforts to make Church Hill a better place for all who live there.”
Vice chair Hayley Price said: “Church Hill Big Local has been a massive part of Wendy’s life these past eight years, and even through some tougher times her tremendous passion to help people and her desire for wanting more for her community always shone through.
“Wendy will be sadly missed, but she will be remembered with great fondness by all those that were fortunate enough to know her.
“Our biggest project to date, the play area at Willow Trees Community Centre, was probably the one Wendy was most passionate about.
“There were many obstacles to be overcome to get it built but she was so delighted when it was finally completed and the families of Church Hill had a new play facility to enjoy.”
She added: “We talk often at Big Local about what our legacy will be – maybe things the people of Church Hill see or remember – the play area, the trips, the events, Bomford Hill Memorial. But from all involved in the Partnership, Wendy is our legacy.
“Wendy Johnson … our leader, our friend.”
Church Hill Big Local Partnership was set up after the estate was awarded £1million in funding through the National Lottery’s biggest ever endowment scheme.
With the money delivered through a Local Trust, the area was one of 150 across the country to receive the funding, to be spent over 10 to 15 years.
Such has been Big Local’s success that two years ago, while Wendy was chair, it received a further £105,000 to support its work.