Chris remembered for ‘tireless’ work to promote Ottery’s heritage

Chris Saunders was a founding member of the Ottery Heritage Society.

Chris Saunders was a founding member of the Ottery Heritage Society. - Credit: Archant

A founding member of Ottery Heritage Society has been remembered for his ‘tireless efforts’ to promote history in the town.

Tributes have been paid to Chris Saunders, who died on February 9, aged 76, following a battle with cancer

The keen historian was a leading fundraiser in the £5,000 restoration of the Patteson Cross and founded the heritage society with his friend Robert Neal in 1998.

Chris moved to the town with his family in 1971, but due to his work with telecommunications organisation Cable and Wireless, he was not able to settle in properly until 1997.

Mr Neal, chairman of the heritage society, said the move allowed his friend to get involved with local organisations and pursue his keen interest in history.

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He added: “As secretary of the heritage society, we owe Chris a great debt for all that we have achieved through his guidance and inspiration over the past 19 years. He was instrumental in proposing and setting up the society in the autumn of 1998, and he will be remembered, not only as a dedicated and passionate supporter for the heritage cause, but as a dear friend who will be sadly missed by us all.

“Chris will be remembered for his tireless efforts and his achievements within the community. A lasting tribute, hugely appreciated by the Coleridge family and the wider Melanesian Mission, was the significant part played by Chris in the Patteson Cross refurbishment. It was thanks to his enthusiasm and enterprise in securing generous donations that enabled the project to be completed on time and on budget.”

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Chris led a number of successful heritage society projects, including the Millennium exhibition and the hugely popular Golden Jubilee book in 2003. He also launched and edited the society’s quarterly journal, Heritage, until 2008.

Chris also joined Ottery Twinning Association and the National Trust with his wife Lindsay. The couple were members of Friendship Force and visited many parts of the USA to help the organisation in its work.

Chris’s funeral service took place on Tuesday.

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