'Much-loved' Datchet pharmacist dies aged 81

Shay Bottomley


A ‘much-loved character at the heart of the Datchet community’ has died aged 81.

Roger Walmsley, who was Datchet’s village pharmacist for more than 40 years, passed away on Sunday, October 17.

His wife, Janice, described him as a ‘tall, elegant figure, known for his kindness and good humour’, and added that the ‘much-loved character was always ready to help and advise’ his fellow residents.

Roger was born and grew up in Datchet. His father, George Walmsley, had been a pharmacist in the village since 1934.

Roger joined him in the pharmacy in 1962 having attended St Mary’s School in the village before moving on to Slough, first to the technical school and then Slough Grammar School. He qualified as a pharmacist at a London university and had a short spell working at Cliveden Hospital before joining his father.

He was an avid sportsman, breaking many records in the 880 yards and relay events as a schoolboy. He represented Buckinghamshire at county level whilst a member of Windsor and Eton Athletics Club.

He later switched his attention to golf, where he was a member at Stoke Poges until a neck injury prevented him from playing.

Roger’s enthusiasm for golf was replaced by a passion for antiques. Over the years he developed a wide knowledge of furniture and porcelain and made many friends in the antiques trade over years of study and collecting.

He was also a keen and accomplished gardener – moving to Englefield Green twenty years ago, so that he could grow the azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons that refused to thrive in Datchet’s soil. Janice said that ‘he was never happier than when walking his beloved flat-coated retriever, Poppy, amongst the finest flowers in the Valley Gardens and The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park’.

She added that Roger’s greatest joy of his retirement was the arrival of five grandchildren who were frequent companions on his walks and daily visitors to the home he shared with his wife.

“He never tired of spending time with his loved ones, and they were always happy to be with him,” Janice said.

Roger is survived by his wife of 51 years, their four children, Sarah, Andrew, Matthew and Daniel and five grandchildren.

There will be a private, family cremation followed by a memorial service at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Datchet, at 1pm on Friday November 5.

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