Honouring a man who gave his life to Warwick

Standing by the commemorative wall plaque to Roger Smith outside the  Warwick almshouses are Thelma Atkins, chairman of the almshouses sub-committee of the Thomas Oken Trust, Alan Sturley and Terry Brown.
Standing by the commemorative wall plaque to Roger Smith outside the Warwick almshouses are Thelma Atkins, chairman of the almshouses sub-committee of the Thomas Oken Trust, Alan Sturley and Terry Brown.

A man whose kindness has left a legacy in Warwick has been honoured and remembered at homes he helped to restore.

A long-time resident and lover of Warwick, Roger Smith left his house to one of the town’s oldest causes, the Charity of Thomas Oken and Nicholas Eyffler.

Roger and Mary Smith

Roger and Mary Smith

Roger who died aged 84 in 2011, made the bequest of the Emscote Road home he shared with his wife, Mary, in hope of helping others after his death.

Thanks to his kindness, a major £63,000 renovation and refurbishment on the charity’s almshouses in Castle Hill has now been completed.

And a plaque has been put up at the homes honouring his substantial bequest.

Charity treasurer Terry Brown said they have already been able to convert four bedsits into two twin-bedroom cottages to help those in need.

He said: “Roger left a substantial sum to the charity, a small part of which has enabled us to carry out this modernisation, leaving a large sum for other projects.

Roger, born in Leamington, moved to Warwick aged two and spent the next 82 years in the same house.

After leaving Warwick School, he joined the Royal Navy aged 17 and went to fight during the Second World War.

He then trained as an accountant and later became principal planning officer at Stratford District Council.

Alan Sturley, a retired trustee of Thomas Oken Trust and lifelong friend, said Roger had many interests, including coaching fencing.

He was chairman of Warwickshire County Council Retired Members’ Association, and a member of the Royal Warwickshire Regimental Association, the local Royal Naval Association and the Old Warwickian Association.

The charity was founded in 1571. It owns 14 almshouses and makes charity donations.