Ian White CBE - Founder and first Chair of SALHS

The village lost one of its ablest servants when Ian White passed away on October 17th2017.Brought up in Bradford and Manchester Ian moved into Glenmire Terrace, Stanstead Abbotts with his beloved Imogen in 1999.- and how much he contributed to village life over those 20 years!

He was the Founder and Chair of the Stanstead Abbotts Local History Society - regularly attracting an average of 50 folk to our monthly meetings. He also served on the Parish Council where he had responsibilities for scrutinising finances plus seeking the installation of CCTV cameras for High St security.  He also devoted a lot of time to pursuing the reparation of a drain that threatened flooding to the car park. Additionally he gave advice and support to our village’s educational charity in The Gambia, “HELPING”.

But it was for his role in inaugurating SALHS that we salute him. When he convened a meeting in February 2012 to discuss the possibility of forming a local history society most of the 14 attendees felt they were there as observers - with no intention of getting involved! But by the end of the evening Ian’s forceful charm and charismatic personality had persuaded 12 of them to form a committee! And by May a Constitution had been agreed and the first public meeting was held.

Since that time, besides the monthly gatherings (which have had the surprising and beneficial effect of proving a greatly appreciated social meeting zone for local folk) there has also been successful Christmas parties, summer barbecues and visits to local centres of historic interest.

But, perhaps above all, Ian played a key role in enabling our President, Ron Dale, to publish his pivotal book, “Stanstead Abbotts, Rye House and St Margarets” in 2013. This has sold well through local shops and nearby museums and stirred up great interest in our history. This interest which he helped to create continues through the regular flow of articles on the pages of this website. SALHS is regularly held up to be an example and model by other historical societies and this is due in no small measure to Ian’s inspiration and creativity.

Ian was a successful and accomplished man. From humble beginnings he quickly became a very young Director of Social Services inthe London Borough of Hillingdon, then in Oxfordshire and then Hertfordshire. (He was awarded the CBE while in Hertfordshire) On retirement from social services he became Chair of the local Primary Care Trust, then Chair of the Strategic Health Authority. He then took a BA in photographyfollowed by an MA in Medieval History. Ian was a keen golfer and was a past Seniors Captain of the Great Hadham Golf Club - and he also cherished a life-time’s passion for his home town club, ManchesterUtd!

A lovely, gifted, warm-hearted man with a cheeky smile. Ian, we’ll miss you!

Bob Hunt (Acting Chair SALHS)