Francis John (Frank) Ware

1932 – 2019
frankwareFrank was born in Quetta, on the Indian NW frontier (now Pakistan), the son of a British army officer, but went to school in England. In between national service (Military Police) and university he had a brief spell as a junior reporter on the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. He left Cambridge with a degree in economics and then worked as research assistant to the Liberal Party, writing speeches for MPs like Jo Grimond and formulating policy. In 1959 he married Margaret, chair of Dulwich Young Liberals, and became articled to a firm of chartered accountants.

Frank and Margaret moved from London in 1963 to a tiny cottage in Milton-under-Wychwood from where he fought the 1964 parliamentary election as the Liberal candidate for the then North Oxfordshire constituency. He came a respectable third, avoiding a lost deposit. In 1966 they moved with their newly born twin daughters Fiona and Alison to a house overlooking the Green at Shipton called Qu’Appelle, which they re-named Monks Gate because of the nearby Shaven Crown hotel. In 1967 Frank was elected Liberal councillor on Oxfordshire County Council for the Wychwoods ward and served for three years on the planning and child care committees. In 1969 he took a job in an Asset Management company in London and commuted daily from Charlbury station to the City until his retirement in 1992.

One of Frank’s major interests had always been ancient and medieval history. He served twelve years as treasurer of the Wychwoods Local History Society, and he and Margaret organised a popular series of field walks, picking up discarded objects from the surface of ploughed fields. Many people enjoyed these events, finding items ranging from prehistoric flint arrowheads and medieval pottery to fragments of a crashed WW2 aircraft. The results were written up in the Society’s journal (Wychwoods History) and sent to County Archives, where they added significantly to the area’s history.

But perhaps Frank will best be remembered locally for the part he played in the fund-raising and building of Shipton’s New Beaconsfield Hall, volunteering as treasurer. It was necessary to form a new charity and he was instrumental in getting its constitution agreed by the Charity Commission and approved by the Inland Revenue. He drew up budgets, applied for grants and played a full part in fund-raising, organising a weekly draw which itself raised over £20,000. The New Hall opened after only four years, much to the credit of the whole community, and Frank’s careful planning also ensured a surplus of funds to invest for its future support and maintenance.

In 2007 he and Margaret left Shipton for Leominster where they spent twelve happy years together, reaching their 60th wedding anniversary in February this year. Frank suffered a severe stroke on Easter Monday from which he never regained consciousness and died two days later, aged 87.

August-September 2019