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'Kind, courteous, and wise' former Shropshire High Sheriff dies at 88

By Toby Neal | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

Simon Kenyon-Slaney, the former Vice Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, High Sheriff, county councillor, and magistrate, who was also involved in many other aspects of public life in the county, has died peacefully at the age of 88.

Simon Kenyon-Slaney

He received an OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2004 for his services to St John Ambulance, and dedicated a large part of his life to many public and voluntary roles in the county

Born in 1932, William Simon Rodolph Kenyon-Slaney was brought up at Hatton, near Shifnal, went to school at Eton and served in the Grenadier Guards before going on to combine careers as a chartered surveyor, forester, and farmer, with a wide array of charitable and civic work.

On completing National Service, he returned to Shropshire and began his training as a chartered surveyor at the Apley estate near Bridgnorth.

After periods spent in North Wales, and subsequently as the resident land agent at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, he returned to the county in 1966 to start farming, living initially at Glazeley, near Bridgnorth, before buying Chyknell, a Grade II listed Regency country house near Claverley, in 1968, where he and his late wife Mary lived for 42 years.

Mr Kenyon-Slaney immediately sought to become involved in charitable activities in the county and was involved from the beginning with the setting up of the Bridgnorth branch of the Shropshire Voluntary Helping Hand Association in 1966, and in 1969 was made county chairman of the charity.

He became a magistrate in 1969, joined the county's Magistrates' Courts Committee, and served on the Bridgnorth bench for 33 years until retiring in 2002 when the court closed and cases were moved to Telford.

He also represented Shropshire at the Magistrates Association in London. In 1977 he was elected as a county councillor, representing the Morfe division and was actively involved in many of the important local political decisions through membership of the planning and transport and ways and means committees. In 1972 he unsuccessfully sought the Conservative Party nomination for the Ludlow parliamentary constituency but remained a vice-president of the Ludlow and South Shropshire constituency Conservative Association.

Mr Kenyon-Slaney was appointed High Sheriff in 1979. Central elements of this one-year, unpaid role are supporting the Crown and the judiciary and promoting the voluntary sector.

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Courteous

Voluntary work was an important thread throughout his life and Mr Kenyon-Slaney was also a past chairman of the county St John Ambulance, having been a member since 1969, for which service he was appointed a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

He was a former chairman of the governors of Oldbury Wells School in Bridgnorth, was a past president of his local branch of the Royal British Legion and of the Shropshire Society in London.

One of his most significant contributions to the county was his long and enduring association with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, becoming vice-chairman. He had always maintained an interest in the industrial heritage of the county and he played a very active part in building interest in, and political and financial support for, the preservation of the wide range of industrial and artistic activities that emerged from this cradle of the industrial revolution.

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In 1988 he joined the board of directors of South Staffordshire Water from which he retired in 2002.

In private Mr Kenyon-Slaney was widely regarded as a kind, courteous, wise and thoughtful man whose encyclopaedic knowledge of county life was always available if sought but never proffered without invitation.

He was a true countryman and an astute and accurate observer of the natural world. He was a passionate gardener with a particular love of azaleas, rhododendrons and lilies, an accomplished fisherman and an experienced forester.

A widower following the death of his wife in late 2018, Mr Kenyon-Slaney lived in Much Wenlock and is survived by three sons and seven grandchildren.

He was cremated at Emstrey on Saturday, June 6, and the date of a service of thanksgiving in the spring of 2021 will be announced later.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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