It is with overwhelming sadness that the Warren and District Residents’ Association (WADRA) Committee announces the death of Robin Bentham, Chair of the Association between 1999 and 2019. Robin died of natural causes at his home on 10 December, having been predeceased by his wife, Eve Bentham, who died on 30 November. Both Robin and Eve were pillars of our community and lived in The Warren for over 30 years. Most notably, Robin, in his position as Chair of WADRA for 20 of his 30 years on the Committee, led it from being an informal organisation, originally set up in 1964 to challenge inappropriate development in the area, to a more formal organization with multiple interests, campaigns, events and initiatives. Eve’s support of Robin and all WADRA has worked towards was invaluable. Her wit and wisdom can also not be forgotten and will be greatly missed.
During Robin’s tenure as Chair he oversaw Reading Borough Council’s recognition of its responsibilities as Trustees of Mapledurham Playing Fields (MPF) and its pavilion, scrutinized too many planning applications to count, and worked collaboratively with WOMAD and Reading Festival for the benefit of our residents. He campaigned on numerous issues to stop inappropriate development, and set WADRA up as a formal organisation with a constitution. We will finally see his efforts come to fruition when the refurbishment of the MPF Pavilion is completed and available for all residents to use and enjoy.
Over the last five years, Robin led WADRA through some of its most turbulent times, always with integrity, diplomacy, wisdom and a calm that eludes most others. I don’t think residents, our members and the committee could have thanked Robin enough for the generous contribution of his time, commitment, and leadership as Chair. Those of us who knew Robin well are grateful and privileged that he was part of our lives.
Both Robin and Eve will be greatly missed by all who knew them. Their family is planning to hold a memorial party in the Spring/Summer 2021, when COVID restrictions allow, when they hope that all those who knew them can join together to celebrate their lives.