Concordia Winter 2023 Obituaries

Peter Manning Ashford (1939-1945)


P eter Manning Ashford (FRICS, From a very early age Peter was affected by asthma that would continue throughout his life. When he was six his asthma was severe, and that led on to pneumonia, causing him to miss a whole school year. In 1939, after six years' attendance at primary and preparatory schools in the Aylesbury area, Peter became a pupil at Merchant Taylors’ School, just a few weeks after the start of the Second World War. The possibility of travel disruption and the risk of attacks on transport led to Peter becoming a boarder at the school until 1942, during which time a bomb did fall in the school grounds and windows were blown out. He completed his time at Merchant Taylors' School as a day boy. The school was hugely significant to Peter and he maintained contact with the Old Merchant Taylors’ Society throughout his life. In the 1950s he played rugby for OMTs and captained a side for two years. He kept in touch with OMTs through the Society but also became friends with OMTs in later life through social encounters, a holiday home in Wales and through his interest in genealogy. Having completed his schooling, Peter joined the RAF. He attended a university course at St Andrew's studying English, History and Kinematics that was coupled with his RAF studies. The war was drawing to a close and he was not asked to take part in any action. He was trained as aircrew but reassigned to radar duties as hostilities drew to a close and the requirement for pilots reduced. In 1944 he met his future wife, Mary, at a social event honouring her father as FRICA) was born on 7th May 1927 in his parents’ home in Aylesbury.

head air raid warden in Aylesbury. They became engaged in 1947 and married in 1950. They had a long and happy married life together. Peter was demobilised from the RAF in 1948, having started a correspondence course in 1947 with the College of Estate Management. This led to success in the RICS examinations, followed by a period of further full-time study. He began his career with a firm of architects in Aylesbury before moving on to a chartered surveyors in Holborn, then to a firm in Westminster once qualified as a Chartered Surveyor (ARICS, later FRICS) and a full member of the Chartered Auctioneers Institute. By the end of the 1950s Peter was a partner of John Meacock (Jun) & Sons of West London with responsibility for four offices; in 1964 he took ownership of a flagship part of the company based in West Drayton and went on to establish a branch office in Datchet where he lived. Peter and Mary started a family in 1952 with the birth of their daughter, Gillian, in 1952 and a son, Christopher, in 1956. In the 1960s Peter’s main hobby became horse riding, often with his family, and this continued until 1980 when a back injury limited his enjoyment. In 1984 Peter merged his practice with the larger firm of Farr Bedford and became a partner. The practice was sold to Abbey National in 1988 and Peter remained with them in a director and consultancy role until retirement in 1994. Peter was a popular and active member of the West Drayton and Yiewsley Rotary Club and served as Treasurer from 1988 to 2001, a member of several committees, and was elected President of the club for 1984/85. In addition,

Peter was a member (and sometime President) of the West Middlesex & South Bucks Association of Auctioneers, Surveyors and Estate Agents, as well as consecutively Treasurer, Chairman and President of the Yiewsley & West Drayton Chamber of Trade and Commerce. He was a committee member of both the West Middlesex Branch of The Chartered Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute, and of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Middlesex and Urban Essex branch. He held various positions in the Datchet Conservative Association throughout the 66 years he lived in the village. In retirement Peter was a member of the Probus Club of Langley & Iver and continued to hold positions in the Datchet Conservative Association and in the Datchet Neighbourhood Watch. Always able to solve a cryptic crossword, he won many prizes, in particular from the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs , and was completing them almost up to his passing. He had a keen interest in genealogy and made contacts with relatives across the globe and delighted in them visiting him in Datchet. Peter’s wife Mary passed in 2017, a few weeks before his daughter Gillian; a tortuous time for him. He carried on living independently with stoic determination and good humour and became a well-known elder of the village. In his 90s he was offered and accepted a position on the Datchet United Charities Committee where his eye for detail and quick wits were much appreciated. Peter fell ill in August and died in hospital in October; after 90 years, pneumonia eventually did get the better of him.


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