Ann Amanda Davis
DescriptionAnn was born in Chichester, West Sussex, the second of four children. Her father owned Chichester Tile and Concrete Company and her mother, Teresa, was a linguist, speaking five languages. In 1939 her mother was called up to become a Censor in H. M. Government. In 1940, after being bombed out in Liverpool, Teresa was ordered to Bermuda to establish a censorship department and, accompanied by three of her children, she embarked on H.M.S. Georgic which was escorted by six destroyers. Ann's early memories include being attacked at night on this voyage by a German U-boat, which was sunk amidst many explosions, by the destroyers and safely carried all France’s gold for storage in Fort Knox, U.S.A. When the USA entered the war, Ann’s mother was transferred to New York and Ann attended boarding school in Boston.
In 1945 Ann returned to England with her family and attended secondary school in Dursley, Gloucestershire, where her mother became a translator for R. A. Lister, an engineering company. When settled back in England, Ann’s youngest brother, Jerome joined the family, aged five. Ann's family moved back to Chichester in 1947 and she attended Chichester High School for Girls until 1951. Ann's first employment was with the Midland Bank until she married Peter Michael Davis, employed by Coutts Bank, Strand, London, in 1959.
Peter and Ann had three children, Stephen, Tina and Andrew from 1960 to 1964. Due to a lack of nursery education in Wokingham, Ann started the Arthur Road Nursery School in her home in 1967 and ran it until 1976 when, as chairman of a Committee of Parents, she spearheaded the establishment of Meadow Nursery School in Murray Road which opened in 1978. Ann was appointed a trustee of the nursery but retired in 2003 after serving for twenty-five years.
During this time Ann became a member of the Pre-School Playgroups Association and established the Wokingham Branch. She resigned from the P.P.A. when Berkshire County Council took her to court for refusing to abide by new regulations for playgroups which did not recognise the importance of qualified staff and grant a higher ratio accordingly. Ann won her case at Bracknell Magistrates Court in February I975. B.C.C. refused to accept the verdict but after taking advice from a High Court Judge were told they did not have a case to take the issue to the High Court and were ordered to establish a lower ratio for playgroups/ nursery schools where staff were appropriately qualified.
In 1977, Ann returned to employment, first as hall manager of St. David’s Hall, Reading University, until 1982 and then as a practice manager working for medical practices in Windsor and Egham. During this time she obtained her diploma in practice management from Cardiff University. She retired in 1994 at the age of sixty. During this time she remained a town councillor and established Wokingham Job Support Centre and also Wokingham Day Nursery to serve the local community, both of which are now firmly established in the town.
She also organised the successful Mayoral Centenary celebrations held in November 1985 which turned the town back a hundred years to 1885 when the first mayor was elected. It was reported by the local press that 8,000 residents in the town centre supported this event with many people dressed in the costume of that era. She was presented with a town council plaque in recognition of her organisation of this event.
Ann's other activities were being a member of the Crime Prevention Panel for several years and finally as chairman for two years. On her retirement in 1998 Thames Valley Police presented her with a citation and a plaque for her efforts. She also, on her retirement from employment at the age of sixty, volunteered her services to the Chamber of Trade and Commerce as chief executive serving for three years, when she had achieved a considerable increase in membership and the Chamber could afford to employ part-time paid staff.
Ann was also interested in supporting sport and in 1993 became secretary of Wokingham District Sports Council serving for ten years. She was presented with a Service to Sport Award in 1997 and in 2005 the Chairman’s Award in recognition of her support for sport. She was a member of the Wokingham Sports Sponsorship Fund for many years which awards grants to youngsters up to eighteen years of age with proven ability in their sport.
In 2002 Wokingham Town Council recognised Ann’s efforts in supporting the community over many years and she was presented with a Civic Award.
In 2003 she spent three years trying to save the Old Police Station in Rectory Road for the local community in a group called C.O.P.S. (Community at the Old Police Station) and, with promised funds donated by the local community and supported by Lloyds Bank, C.O.P.S made a bid of £1.8 million for the site. Unfortunately the site was sold to a local resident for two million and still remains in private hands.
Ann was a member of the Committee of the Wokingham Society and in 1998 was elected as vice-chairman. The Society is a civic society concerned with conserving the town’s heritage. Ann retired from the committee in 2014.
Ann’s husband, who supported her in all her activities for the town died in 2007. Ann continued to be involved in the Town up to her death on the 4th September 2018.
SourceFormer Town Mayors of Wokingham from 1980 - 2015, by J Bell.
“Ann Amanda Davis,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed August 15, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0079.