It's with great sadness that the Friends' announces the death of one of its greatest supporters and stalwarts and co-founder of the Friends of Richmond Park back in 1961.
In a greengrocer’s shop in Friars Stile Rd in Richmond in early 1961, Wendy Macaulay and Mary Gueritz were discussing the gradual urbanisation of Richmond Park and decided they must do something about it. So that March at the Station Hotel in Richmond they and other concerned locals founded the Friends of Richmond Park and Wendy was elected Hon. Secretary.
Among Wendy’s earliest memories was being taken by her parents to the Park to watch Crystal Palace burning, in 1936. The family would go to hear the bands which played at the Bandstand near Richmond Gate – ‘why did that have to go?’ – and if the wind was in the right direction they could even hear the music from their garden on Richmond Hill.
During the Second World War when there was only limited public access to the Park, Wendy saw the lines of temporary billets (near Pembroke Lodge) which were built to house military units based in the Park. She saw Pen Ponds (in the centre of the Park) drained then camouflaged with netting to prevent their use as a navigational aid by enemy bombers, and recalled the ‘incredibly noisy’ anti-aircraft guns in the Park which were active every night.
Wendy remained active in local affairs, supporting Liberal causes and the Richmond ‘Good Neighbours’ scheme. Wendy had a large family and leaves three daughters, one son and nine grandchildren.
She was the last survivor of that original group that formed the Friends of Richmond Park but part of her legacy is that, 56 years later, the Friends still flourishes with over 2,500 members campaigning for the protection and conservation of Richmond Park “for the benefit of the public and future generations.”
Wendy will be sadly missed; as well as being a campaigner who passionately cared about the Park, she was hugely respected and loved by all the Friends who met and worked with her.