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José (Josephine) Cockrem died peacefully on Friday, March 13, at her home in Cheddington, aged 77, writes Deborah Hodgetts.
A former Cheddington correspondent for several local newspapers, José gave so much to her village and the wider area through her reports and weekly columns. Cheddington has lost a valuable member of its community.
José came to Cheddington when she was two years old, with her parents from their former home in Cheshire. Her father was the head gardener for Captain Lawrence Stoddart at Cheddington Manor.
As a child José attended Cheddington School, and as a grown woman one of her first jobs was with an insurance company based in Aylesbury, then later in their offices in Berkhamstead. In the early years in this job she would cycle to Pitstone, then catch the bus for the rest of her journey.
José’s main job was as a secretary to the head of British Waterways. She was based at their offices in Bulbourne, Tring, where the workshops for the lock gates and other fittings were made. While there she was given a presentation of a tea set to mark her 25 years of service.
On her retirement she found great pleasure in her role as a room guide at Woburn Abbey. She was well-read and extremely knowledgeable, and was always delighted to share her knowledge with her friends and fellow villagers.
In Cheddington she took her role as correspondent with the Leighton Buzzard Observer very seriously and enjoyed attending meetings and events with all of the village organisations, to keep the villagers well informed with her inimitable style. José most definitely put Cheddington on the map locally.
Although José was the soul of Cheddington’s community, she was also a very private individual who lived gracefully until the very end.
She had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the villagers in Cheddington and seemed to know who everyone was, whom they were married to and where they lived within the village.
She was also a good neighbour to many villagers throughout her life. She had a real feel for the heart of Cheddington and for village life, which she conveyed through her work within the community.
One of her great joys was being a member of Cheddington Methodist Church, of which she had been a member since her childhood years.
Her work as a lay preacher gave her great solace, and was a very important part of her life.
She was very involved and always gave herself to her duties within the church and within the wider community selflessly.
In recent years due to a deterioration in her health José, was unable to continue her public life out and about, and was sadly confined to home, but she never had so much as a touch of self-pity and still kept her amazing knowledge trigger-sharp.
She will be greatly missed – a light has gone out in Cheddington, but I know she’ll be joyfully looking on with pride!
Many great sporting events bring thousands of spectators to an almost hysterical pitch of pleasure - if their side is winning. The sight and sound of these great events can be overwhelming if you are present. But in a few hours it will all be over and, back home, normal life resumes with only the memory of an exciting time. We read in Revelation of myriads of people enjoying an ecstatic time, far greater than anything ever experienced, not just for a few hours, but forever. To be one of those people we have to accept God’s conditions for entry. No sin or evil can be present in heaven, so the only way we can be certain of being there is to trust in Jesus in this life before it is too late. He paid the penalty for our sins. Our part is to believe this, repent and give our lives to God. What a prospect to be there! – John Young, Wigginton