Thanksgiving service for Sidbury archivist

Sidbury archivist and writer, Barbara Softly, dies shortly after diamond wedding anniversary

VILLAGERS and friends from Sidbury will gather at St Giles Church for a short service of thanksgiving for their village archivist, Barbara (Wendy) Softly.

Barbara, a well-known writer and gardener, died in hospital at Exeter on May 6, aged 87, just a few weeks after celebrating her diamond wedding anniversary with husband Alan.

She and Alan had lived in Sidbury for 27 years.

He said: “She loved her home and the garden, which she created, and was opened to the public under the National Gardens Scheme for 21 years.”

He said his wife was “one of the 100 Best Children’s Writers in the UK” and had seven books published, including the Ponder and William series by Puffin.

She continued to write five more books, on Sidbury and St Giles Church.

Most Read

Barbara and Alan were the village archivists and she was responsible for many of the local exhibitions.

She was personally responsible for successfully answering some 300 family history enquiries from this country and abroad.

Passionately fond of animals, she took in and cared for numerous strays and fed an increasing number of badgers – as seen on TV.

“During her 27 years of living and working in Sidbury, she became much respected and loved and will be greatly missed,” said Alan.

Friday’s service will start at 3.45pm and refreshments will be available.