Todwick: Playground plaque unveiled to village stalwart Mary
A play park in Todwick has been dedicated to a village stalwart who loved children and worked tirelessly for the community.
The sun shone brightly on the park off Lindley’s Croft at the official unveiling of a plaque in memory of Mary Gregory, who died in 2011 aged 91.
The Mary Gregory Childrens Park, as it is now known, is owned by Todwick Parish Council.
Mary sat on the parish council for 28 years and was chairman from 1983 to 1986 and vice chairman from 1991 to 1995.
For a while they have been planning to dedicate the park to Mary, so that her legacy will live on while village children enjoy playing on the swings, slides and climbing frames.
And several pupils from Todwick Primary School were present at the unveiling ceremony where they heard about Mary’s efforts to transform the land into a park.
“When she discovered about this land she pursued the necessary permissions and sought finance to carry out the work to create the playground,” Sheila Pantry said.
Sheila and her husband Clive Pantry were close friends with Mary for many years and Clive is still a parish councillor.
Sheila said: “It was not a particularly easy task. The parish council at that time were not very active spenders but Mary was a very determined lady and because of that many children continue to enjoy the benefits of this lovely park today.”
A celebratory shout of ‘hip-hip-hooray’ rang out across the playground as Clive unveiled the plaque.
And the children set about playing on the equipment, as they do best.
Also present at the ceremony was Mary Gregory’s long-time friend Doreen Noble who had travelled from Manchester especially for the occasion.
Said Doreen: “I think Mary would be pleased and surprised by all this. It is a nice gesture because she did a great deal for the village and for the church.”
“I’m glad I was able to be here.”
Parish council vice chairman David Gregory said: “I’m delighted to see so many people turn out to mark this special occasion.”
He said the village children had been involved in planting the flowers around the plaque.
“This play park is all about you and your friends,” he told them.
Mary had many roles at Todwick Church including being the first woman to be the church warden between 1981 and 1983.
Her colourful life saw her work as a qualified librarian, tutoring at Richmond College for much of her career.
She gained an external law degree from University of London in 1973 and served as a magistrate for 18 years before reluctantly standing down aged 70.
In Todwick itself Mary was heavily involved in installing the village map and set up the village newsletter The Informer.