DENNIS FLOWER CBE: The village of Ilmington is mourning the death on Friday of Dennis Flower, of Ilmington Manor. Dennis Flower was 88 and had been a great friend of Ilmington in all senses since he came from London with his parents to live at the Manor. He was then aged four.

After prep school he was a pupil at Stowe School then studied science at Cambridge. He remembered well that he was home for the first Commonwealth radio link-up which was broadcast direct from the Manor before the message from the King in 1932. At the start of the war he was an Army officer but was captured at Dunkirk and was to spend the next five years in a German prisoner of war camp.

Mr Flower used this time to study brewing so as to resume his career at the family brewery at Stratford-upon-Avon, he remembered well the welcome he received from the village when he returned from captivity in 1945 with the church bells ringing.

He joined enthusiastically in village life with active support for the church and clubs and societies. There were many activities and many events held at the beautiful Manor and its gardens.

He opened the gardens to the public several times a year, not only under the National Gardens Scheme but for other charities such as the Air Forces Association. He was awarded a well-deserved CBE which perhaps pleased the villagers as much as Dennis as they were so aware of what this greatly-loved man did for them.

There are many permanent things to remind us of his great affection for the village where he spent so much of his life. He was responsible for creating the two fine fish ponds on Berry Orchard which attract much bird life.

The beautiful billowing chestnut tree on the Lower Green was planted by Dennis as a very small boy. A decade or so ago he gave a meadow for a wood to be created on the Darlingscote Road. When Flowers Wood was opened it was a joyful occasion with the village school children in attendance.

Following in the family tradition, Dennis Flower was passionate about the theatre in Stratford. He held important posts on the governing body and was interested to the last in the plans for the future of the theatre. Dennis Flower CBE will be greatly missed.