Tributes for Cookham judge who gave 'a lifetime of service' to community

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Tributes have been paid to a former Deputy Lieutenant for Berkshire and one of Cookham’s ‘most prominent residents’.

Charles Elly, also known as Judge Richard Charles Elly, passed away on March 27. He is survived by his wife Marion, his two children Mark and Frances and his grandchildren.

Charles was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Berkshire in 2011. He was also once the president of the Law Society, an independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales.

His funeral took place on Wednesday, April 14 at St John the Baptist Church in Cookham Dean, a church to which Charles gave ‘a lifetime of service’.

Charles took on three separate terms of office as churchwarden there and a chairmanship role for the parochial church council (PCC).

“He wouldn’t suffer fools gladly or let people walk all over him, which was what made him such a good chair,” said Rev Nick Plant of St John’s.

“But he was also a very caring and a gentle man – he made sure everyone had a chance to speak. He was an enabler, always helping people find their potential.”

Charles was proactive in his charitable work, galvanising volunteers to collect door-to-door donations for Christian Aid.

“He was very persuasive in all the right ways,” said Rev Plant. “He was very much at the heart of the charity (work) and wanted to make sure that the church was giving in the right way.”

He was also fond of children and would perform as an ‘eccentric professor’ on stage for them at Cookham Kids Holiday Club, a summer activity week.

“Part of his job (as a judge) was placing children with families and he was really keen to make sure children went to the right foster families,” said Rev Plant.

Charles was also a public figure more widely, as serving chair of the Diocesan Trustees Oxford Ltd (DTOL) and a member of the Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council.

Charles Elly’s funeral was live-streamed so that it could be attended virtually by those who were unable to attend in person due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Around 70 or 80 people attended virtually in addition to those at the church.

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