Mingling with residents celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the village this weekend are two people from Adelaide in Australia, Edwin Heywood and his eldest son Daniel.
Two years ago on behalf of the family, three Hazel trees were planted in Little Wittenham Woods in memory of their late wife and mother Elizabeth, known in the village as Betty Wrench.
Ed and Daniel scattered some of Betty’s ashes in the woods and at the grave of her parents who are buried in St Mary’s churchyard.
Ed and Daniel also visited Vauxhall Barracks in Didcot where Ed was stationed during his National Service with the Royal Army Ordinance Corps. Ed met his future wife Betty at a dance at the barracks where she worked as a typist.
She and her family came to live in Long Wittenham from London in 1939 after the outbreak of the Second World War. The family wanted to escape bombing in London for the peace and quiet of the countryside.
Ed was born in the town of Hyde, now part of Greater Manchester. After their wedding in Long Wittenham in 1954, Ed and Betty went to live in Hyde before emigrating to Australia ten years later.
Ed said: “Daniel and I are enjoying our visit to Long Wittenham and meeting old acquaintances who remember me from my wedding day so long ago. It is like stepping into the past. There were also moving moments scattering Betty’s ashes in the woods and at the graveside of her parents in the churchyard”.
Ed and Daniel are spending five days in Long Wittenham and Didcot before they travel to north Wales for a short stay after the Jubilee celebrations.