Veronica Muriel Essame
DescriptionVeronica Essame, daughter of Frederick Heald (b. 1861), a solicitor, and mother Amy (b. 1862), was born in East Ham, Essex in July 1906. She was the youngest of three sisters and two brothers.
She lived in Finchampstead Road, Wokingham and was known to everyone as a tireless fundraiser. She was well-known throughout the town where she was frequently seen riding her bicycle even in her eighties for her charity work for which she had gained recognition.
Veronica came to Wokingham during the 1930s. During the Second World War she joined the Womens’ Auxiliary Air Force and when she left in 1946 she had the rank of warrant officer.
It was then that she embarked upon her extensive charity work. She held garden parties at her home as a means of raising funds. As secretary of the local RAFA branch she raised thousands of pounds for ex-RAF personnel across the country who had fallen on hard times. She also organised for the RAFA a St. George’s Day Gathering for two years running. Such was its success that it is held annually.
Wildlife and nature were her other passion. In addition to WWF she was an active member of BBONT, Berks, Bucks and Oxon Nature Trust. WADE, Wokingham Day Centre for the Elderly was another of her pet charities. For several years she helped to operate the meals-on-wheels service around the district. She regularly distributed All Saints’ Parish Magazine and arranged the church flowers.
She married John O. Essame in September 1951. There were no children.
In 1986 she was made a Freeman of Wokingham in recognition of her long and devoted service to charity and in 1991 she received a British Empire Medal for services to The Royal Air Forces Association in Berkshire.
Veronica died at the age of 87 at Battle Hospital on August 11th 1993 after a nine-month fight against cancer.
SourceHonorary Freeman of Wokingham, by J. Bell
“Veronica Muriel Essame,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed September 22, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0237.