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We are sad to announce that our co-founder Margaret Ashby has died  after a long illness.  Here she is with her Peterkin Award from CPRE Hertfordshire.

Margaret was born in Hertfordshire and moved to Stevenage with her parents as a baby then stayed in Pound Avenue all her life

She worked as an FE lecturer in Hertford.  Her many books, mainly about local history, include Forster Country published 1991.

She co-founded The Friends of the Forster Country with John Hepworth in 1989  They had just persuaded a government inspector to pronounce Forster Country Green Belt and refuse an appeal after Stevenage BC had refused planning permission. 

Together she and John co-chaired the organisation for many years.  After the loss of John, she felt it time for a new Chairman but stayed on the committee and agreed to be a Patron. For the past 30 years she has helped remind local people (and quite a few further afield) of the value of this ‘green lung’ for Stevenage and a great literary heritage.   She set a shining example of defending Forster Country through democratic methods, retaining many friends including within Stevenage BC.

What was to be her final illness was un-diagnosed but causing problems as early as the Local Plan Inquiry of 2017 but she was part of our team there, helping prepare our approach then sitting through all relevant days.

We are greatly saddened that her last few months were within Covid lockdown but even more so that they were clouded with the thought that most of her beloved Forster Country was so seriously threatened by housing.  We thank her for helping save it for us to enjoy for the last 30 plus years.  We will miss her.