Miss Hereward, a 64 year-old solicitor, was from a small village in Dorset called Toller Porcorum. When the village lost its post office, shop and local pub due to families being pushed out by holiday makers, Vanora was heartbroken.
The local solicitor decided to donate a large piece of land to the local community so that a brighter future could be secured for families that had been badly affected by the rising house prices in the area.
Not only did Vanora donate the land, but she also helped to set up a community trust and planning permission for the land, to ensure that a post office and five affordable homes were built.
But, very sadly, in June 2012, the thoughtful woman died before she could see her legacy being built. The small estate has now been built and named Hereward Close in her remembrance. It has revitalised the village in one of Britain’s most expensive areas, where prices have climbed inexorably thanks to the intrusion of retired homeowners and holiday lets.
The treasurer of Toller Porcorum Community Land Trust, Barry Rutherford, has explained the effect that Vanora’s selfless act has had on the community:
“Quite a while ago now, our local Post Office, pub and shop were closed down and converted into housing. The village is now one of the most expensive parts of Britain and it is virtually impossible for young homebuyers on typical earnings to buy a property in the area.
At one point, Toller Porcorum was at risk of becoming a village consisting of only old age pensioners and holiday makers. However, the small cul-de-sac, that has been built thanks to the considerate Vanora Hereward, is now home to local families that had been struggling because of the hugely inflated rent prices in the area. A Post Office which includes a village store and a one bedroom flat above was also built in the estate.”
Now that the new houses have been built, the village breathes a new life, children run around the streets and there is hope for the area. The only sad part about it all is that Vanora Hereward never got to see what she has done for the community, but she will always be remembered and will forever be part of the village.
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