Arthur Reynolds: The perfect gentleman who left more than £200,000 to Wedmore and local charities
Gracious, kind, sympathetic, honest and generous are just a few of the words that were used to describe the man who left more than £200,000 to Wedmore groups and local charities in his will.
Arthur Reynolds, who moved to Wedmore in 2000, passed away on March 6 in Brunell Ford Glastonbury Care Home from a long illness.
Wedmore and Axbridge Community Health Fund will receive a bequest of £50,000, Isle of Wedmore Bowls Club will receive in the region of £59,000 and Wedmore in Bloom and Wedmore Village Hall will each receive £10,000.
Mr Reynolds was a treasurer of the Wedmore and Axbridge Community Health Fund for almost ten years and a keen supporter of Wedmore in Bloom and the village hall. Although his generosity was known, the true depth of it was not.
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Shirley Wederell, a close friend and part of the health fund, said: “There are people who will never know the true extent of his generosity. There are members of the club that will never know what Arthur did in terms of financial commitment and donations to the club house.”
Arthur financially supported the national pairs finals of the British Wheelchair Bowling Association, held at the Wedmore club.
Mrs Wederell added: “He never wanted recognition for sponsoring and always wanted it to remain anonymous.”
David Wederell, a close friend of Arthur’s, said: “Arthur was the sort of man who you would want as a friend and confidante; loyal, trustworthy, a good listener, a giver of good advice, a mild-mannered man who did not retaliate when he was wronged. It was always good to be in his company.”
“He had a very dry humour. Nobody is perfect in this life – if he made up his mind up to do something, he would not move. He clearly thought things out and that was his decision, and that was it.
“Anybody who met him found him easy to get on with and they enjoyed his company.
Harold Stone, Arthur’s landlord and neighbour, said: “He was a pleasure to know and a pleasure to have every minute I spent with him. He was an old-world gentleman.”
“Arthur lived adjacent to my garden and every time I was out there, I would get an update on the cricket and the bowls club. He was a gentleman’s gentleman.
Mr Wederell said: “He grew up living through the war, so he had a great interest in it. Arthur and his school friend Derek reminisced in the care home about a month before his passing.
"I sat there and listened to stories of bombs, doodle-bugs, dog fights overhead, shrapnel hunting and even a parachute mine, recounted as if they were yesterday.”
Arthur was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2012 but Mrs Wederell said that despite his illness, ‘he was not a complaining man’.
Mr Wederell said: “He realised before the diagnosis that the writing was on the wall as he had been feeling poorly.
Because he had pancreatic cancer associated with the liver, he was promised a painful death and horrendous pain during the latter part of his life. But although he was not well, he had no pain.”
Although the financial legacy is incredible and generous, he lives on in memory of his friends as a kind and lovely man.
David Summers-Cooke, part of the village hall committee, said: “He just sticks in the mind a lot longer. He was a lovely man and you always remember lovely men. I can put it no more simply than he was a great fellow. I miss him.”
Mr Wederell said: “He became like a father figure to me. I spent a lot of time with him during difficult periods of his life, and that led to us being great friends. He spent Christmas with us on a couple of occasions and he became part of the family.
Mrs Wederell said: “He’s been part of our lives for so long, that it’s like the loss of a family member.”
Mr Stone said: “It’s a shame to think that he never had a family because he would have made a wonderful grandfather. My children and grandchildren loved him.”
“He used to go out for ten minutes and would return an hour and a half later having spoken to everyone, and he loved that. He left an impression that you would want to talk to him if you saw him out and about as you always knew he would have something interesting to say.”
Mrs Wederell said: “He was a very lovable man – a man of integrity and who was proud. He was so lovable to all our family.”
Mr Wederell added: “The way he spoke about people was with such generosity. He always tended to see people’s good side.”