Shropshire Star

Former High Sheriff Lionel Jebb dies

Lionel Jebb, who has died aged 88, was a leading figure in Shropshire public life over several decades, including as the county's High Sheriff and serving as a Deputy Lieutenant.

Lionel Jebb outside The Lyth, which was also the childhood home of his illustrious great aunt Eglantyne Jebb.

He was the great nephew of Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, the Shropshire sisters who founded the Save The Children Fund in 1919.

Lionel Jebb outside The Lyth, which was also the childhood home of his illustrious great aunt Eglantyne Jebb.

It was a cherished family connection with a charity which has made lives better for millions of children, and he was proud to show Save The Children's patron, Princess Anne, a special display board telling the story of the Jebb family link when she came to Ellesmere in 1999 to officially open the Lakelands Sports Centre.

Mr Jebb was president of the Eglantyne Jebb Community Association, which had raised £250,000 towards the project.

"My mother ran the Save The Children fundraising committee in Ellesmere for years and years and he would help in a volunteering capacity, and if the charity had a significant anniversary or commemoration he would be involved, invited as a representative of the Jebb family," said son Richard.

Mr Jebb was a farmer, landowner, and former councillor for Ellesmere on Shropshire County Council.

When the future of Ellesmere's cottage hospital – originally built for the town by Louisa Jebb – was thrown into doubt in the late 1980s he campaigned in its support.

He was made Shropshire's High Sheriff in 1991 and in 2000 was made a Deputy Lieutenant, a prestigious royal title only awarded to people who have demonstrated significant public or military duty.

Among other roles, Mr Jebb served as chairman of Adcote School governors, chairman of the Shropshire committee of the Country Landowners' Association, and president of the Eglantyne Jebb Community Centre.

Richard said: "He was interested in the countryside and wildlife, and was involved in the Shropshire Conservation Trust, which became Shropshire Wildlife Trust. He was involved in the Shropshire Training and Enterprise Commission in the 1980s, and the Jean Jackson Trust, which was set up in memory of Jean Jackson and effectively gave bursaries to students at Harper Adams."

He is survived by wife Corinna, children Richard, Sophie and Andrew, and five grandchildren.

Showing Princess Anne a display highlighting the Jebb family link to Save The Children.

Born in Calcutta – now known as Kolkata – where his father was general manager of a factory, as war clouds gathered his parents brought him and his younger sister back to The Lyth, Ellesmere, where his grandparents lived, and he would not see his parents again until 1947.

Young Lionel attended Packwood Haugh School, then Shrewsbury School, and after National Service as a subaltern in the Royal Ordnance Corps went to Oxford University to read Classics, and while there gained his blue in athletics, in recognition of his prowess – despite his tall, thin, frame – in discus, javelin, and hammer.

While at university he met the then Corinna Hawkesworth, who was studying at secretarial college, and they wed at St Chad's Church in Shrewsbury in 1960.

After a short honeymoon they went to India where he had a job with the Burmah Oil Company but returned to Britain after his father had a heart attack and helped his widowed mother manage things at The Lyth.

Later he moved to Birmingham as a management trainee for Midland Counties Dairies.

"He was virtually having to go out as a milkman to learn the ropes for a while," said Richard.

Returning to Shropshire, they lived at Dudleston Heath, and then The Lyth until 2008, then Tetchill, and in 2020 a new house in Ellesmere, by which time it was becoming apparent that Lionel had dementia.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and spent the last part of his life in a care home where he died, with the funeral service at St Mary's Church, Ellesmere, on September 2 at 11am – with donations to Save the Children, the Alzheimer's Society, and Shropshire Wildlife Trust – followed by a private family burial at St Michael and All Angels churchyard, Welshampton.

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