Dougles Cunningham

Douglas Cunningham5 December 1924 – 13 October 2018

Douglas was born and raised in Edinburgh, alongside his younger sister, and won a bursary to Leith Academy where he excelled at maths and sports. He joined The Commercial Bank of Scotland (later to become RBS) straight from school as an apprentice, learning the ropes at various Edinburgh branches but still playing tennis, golf and badminton every spare moment until 1943 when he joined the RAF at the age of 19.

He was sent to St. John’s Wood in London and then on to aircrew basic training units. On completion, they formed into crews to fly Wellington bombers serving in Egypt, Palestine and then Iceland by which time they were with Coastal Command deploying the airborne lifeboat for crews who ditched in the sea.

When he left the RAF he returned to the bank and in 1951 he was sent to London and when at the Lombard Street Branch in the City of London he met and married his wife, Terry, and they settled in Surrey and their two children, Ian and Alison were born. After more than 20 years working in London, he was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1973, and Douglas managed branches in Victoria and Bond Street.

In 1996, when retirement beckoned, the family moved to Milton under Wychwood. They loved the friendly village and immersed themselves in village life. Douglas continued to work on banking projects with the Westminster Diocese, training priests in the intricacies of modern banking or organising finance for school improvement projects.

Douglas also joined a local group, led by Rev. Graham Canning, which was trying to set up a Day Centre for the lonely, disabled and elderly people in the area but were being held back by all the red tape involved in such a venture. However, with perseverance, they eventually won through and the Day Centre was officially opened in March 1998 and is now the very successful enterprise we know today serving all the local villages.

In 1998 ,the Wychwood Library was listed for closure unless £30,000 could be raised for refurbishment. Douglas became Chairman of the ‘Friends of Wychwood Library’ and, generously supported by local Councils, charitable trusts, businesses and residents of the Wychwoods, within a year £35,000 was raised. The Library was enlarged and refurbished and officially opened in 2002 and is now a centre for so many village activities and a valued community asset. The continued success of these two projects gave Douglas much pleasure.

His last summer was spent in his beloved garden with his family, feeding his fish, listening to the birds, and enjoying the peace and beauty of the Cotswold countryside.

April – May 2019