Tributes paid to husband and wife who died within days of each other after more than 50 years of marriage

James Harrison

James Harrison

Tributes paid to husband and wife who died within days of each other after more than 50 years of marriage

Tributes have been paid to a husband and wife fundraising team after they died within days of each other.

Don and Jill Cawthorne, from Cookham Dean, where they had lived since the early 1970s, were well known in the village and in Maidenhead for their charity work.

Mr Cawthorne was born in Stretford, Manchester, where he went to Manchester Grammar School.

He won a place at Cambridge University, but left in 1944 to join the 1st battalion of the Green Howards regiment.

He was posted to Germany but never saw action and would later say he had done ‘a lot of walking, no shooting’.

He was demobbed about three years later and went to resume his studies, but as the war had left a five-year waiting list at Cambridge he instead finished his education in Manchester.

He later moved to London in the early 1960s to work for Unilever, where he met Jill, from Clifton, in Bristol.

After dating for about 18 months, they married in 1963 in Bayswater, central London, where they also lived, before moving to Maidenhead and later to Cookham Dean.

Mr Cawthorne joined the Rotary Club of Maidenhead, of which he was an active member for more than 40 years.

He was also a councillor for Cookham, chairman of the Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative Association and a member of the committee that appointed Home Secretary Theresa May as parliamentary candidate for Maidenhead.

Mrs Cawthorne regularly organised events, particularly bridge drives, through Holy Trinity Church, in Cookham.

She became its first ever female church warden in the 1980s, raising thousands of pounds for charity and eventually having her efforts recognised with an MBE in the 1990s.

Mr Cawthorne and Mrs Cawthorne were in a nursing home in Cookham.

Mr Cawthorne died in his sleep on Friday, May 27, followed by wife of more than five decades Jill on Sunday, May 29.

The couple are survived by their son, Hugo, 48, who also now runs the family firm, Burford Research Consultants.

Remembering his parents, he said: “They were together for 52 years and their lives were filled with love and laughter and they were in love for all of those years.”

A remembrance service is due to be held at Holy Trinity Church, in Churchgate, Cookham, tomorrow (Friday) at 12.30pm.

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