Village farewell planned for Lord Oaksey
A SPECIAL thanksgiving service is being planned in Oaksey to say a fond farewell to one of the village’s biggest champions.
The former top jump jockey Lord Oaksey, who died on September 5 aged 83, was a nationally respected writer and commentator on horse racing and founder of the Injured Jockeys Fund.
But at home he was equally revered for his involvement in the issues faced by his fellow residents, whether it was helping to save the village shop he had known since childhood or playing a major role in Oaksey Knockout.
Wiltshire Councillor Carole Soden told the Standard: “I have to say it was a privilege to know him.
“He was such a lovely guy. Very caring, very into the local community. He was a man everybody respected, a real gentleman of the old school.
“Both he and Chicky have been wonderful people for Oaksey.”
Robin Rogers, who chairs the parish council, added: “He was hugely admired and much loved.
“He was a terribly good example of how someone in that position can take responsibility for a community.
“These days it is very fashionable to be cynical about deference, but this was a bloke who deserved deference.”
A statement released by his family said: “We wish John could have read all the wonderful things that have been written about him and seen all the love and admiration that was felt for him.
“We shall miss him,” it said. “But the loss has been made easier to bear by everything that has been said and the kindness of his friends.”
Lord and Lady Oaksey were instrumental in saving the village shop back in 1996. It was then handed over to the community.
His niece Charlotte Burnaby-Atkins, who now chairs the village shop association, said it was a wonderful legacy for the village.
He used it regularly, ordering his Racing Post there and having his newspapers delivered from it.
His involvement in the village did not stop there. While it was his father who started Oaksey Bowl for the cricket club, he carried it on and was sad when it eventually ended.
One of the prime movers behind Oaksey Knockout, which served as a fete, he was also a firm supporter of the village football club.
His energy and enthusiasm for good causes led him to run marathons, go on endurance rides and even use his TV commentating skills to compere fashion shows.
A qualified barrister, he served as a magistrate in the Malmesbury area for many years.
As an amateur jockey John Oaksey, who competed under the name of John Lawrence, rode 200 winners. He took part in the Grand National 11 times and in 1963 famously came within yards of winning before he and his mount Carrickbeg were overtaken at the last minute by Ayala .
A private funeral will be held but his family is planning two thanksgiving services, one in London and one at Oaksey at a date to be announced.