Housing development named in honour of former councillor

A new affordable housing development in Shropshire has been named in honour of a long-serving councillor and community champion.

Jenny Athersmith Gardens in Dawley recognises the work of the late Jenny Athersmith and is intended to be a lasting reminder of her contribution to the area.

The development, on the former Castle Lodge site, consists of three one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom bungalows, exclusively for the over-55s and all for affordable rent.

The homes have been built to high mobility standards and also include enhanced levels of insulation to reduce heating costs for residents.

Athersmith served on Great Dawley Town Council for a quarter of a century and was a key driving force behind a number of events and initiatives aimed at bringing the community together.

Members of her family were joined by representatives from The Wrekin Housing Group, TC Homes and Telford & Wrekin Council to mark the naming of the site.

Tracy Downing, Athersmith’s daughter, said: “Mum has done a lot for the parish. She used to run the stalls on Dawley Day and did a lot of charity work.

“We are all so proud that these new homes are named after her, it’s a wonderful legacy for everything she did.”

Athersmith served as a councillor for Great Dawley Town Council from its formation in 1988, up until the mid-2010s.

During this time, she held the position of vice chair as well as being a member of the entertainment committee.

She sat on the town council alongside her husband Roy Athersmith, who was also a borough councillor until his death in 2001. Athersmith Close in Dawley is named after him.

Following in their footsteps, the couple’s two daughters and one of their granddaughters have also served as local councillors.

In 2016, Great Dawley Town Council bestowed Freedom of the Town to Mrs Athersmith, the highest honour a local council can award to an individual, for her service and dedication to the local community. She died in September 2022.

Wayne Gethings, group chief executive at the Wrekin Housing Group, said: “I am delighted at how Jenny Athersmith Gardens has taken shape. It is another excellent example of how partnership working can help us deliver much needed affordable, high quality homes in Telford.

“We are incredibly proud to have had this development named after Jenny Athersmith, whose contribution to her community over many years cannot be overstated. This is a fitting tribute to everything she did for Dawley.”

Delighted

Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council and ward member for Malinslee & Dawley Bank, sat on the town council alongside Athersmith for several years.

He said: “Jenny Athersmith served Great Dawley with pride, determination and grit for over 20 years and always put the community first.

“She was instrumental in setting up Dawley Day and protecting the over 60s Christmas parties. Jenny also raised thousands of pounds for charity.

“I am delighted that she will always be remembered and honoured through the dedication of Jenny Athersmith Gardens.

“It is just a short walk from Athersmith Close which was named after her late husband Roy Athersmith who served the community as a Borough Councillor.

“The Athersmith family name is still spoken about positively locally for all the work they did for us.”

Main image: Wayne Gethings, chief executive, Wrekin Housing Group, and Shaun Davies, leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, with members of Jenny Athersmith’s family


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