Sad Loss to Canvey

Canvey News and Benfleet Recorder 1968

Local papers article about Charles Venables passed to us by his granddaughter Linda.

The cremation was due to take place yesterday (Thursday) at Southend Crematorium of a well-loved retired Canvey chemist. Mr Charles P Venables, of Long Road. Mr Venables, 81, died on Friday. He was Canvey’s first chemist for nine years and had served Canvey for nearly 43 years, retiring with effect from April 1 of this year.

But he had been more than that. During his long years on the Island he had been guide, philosopher, friend and confidant to thousands of local residents. He performed many a service and did many a good deed for which he never received and never sought any public recognition whatsoever.

Fond of animals, he also devoted a large part of his spare time to their welfare, and acted as a vet, for which many residents and their pets have been forever grateful.

A thoughtful, kindly man, with a wide range of interests, he was extremely fond of Canvey, where he spent so very many happy years. So devoted was he to the Island that at one stage he never took a holiday for 28 years.

Canvey Ratepayers’ Association have particular cause to be grateful to him. From 1925 he had worked unceasingly as their treasurer. In 1967 he became their President. For 40 years the executive committee met at his private residence. Such a record of public, unpaid, service is unparalleled locally within living memory.

Mr Venables recalled that in his early years when taking up his profession he had worked 60 hours a week for a 10s wage at the age of 28. Six months later he got a rise – to 15s. a week. Out of this he also had to pay fares. Mr Venables, who had travelled widely, including Canada, was a brilliant conversationalist and the wide range of local and national topics within his grasp was a constant source of interest to his many friends. Among his intellectual pursuits was chess.

Members of Canvey Ratepayers’ Association stood in silent tribute to his memory at Tuesday’s meeting after Mr Brian Purser, chairman, had paid eloquent tribute to the association’s and Canvey’s loss. Mr Roy Farmer, the organisation’s secretary, has also contributed to this newspaper the following tribute to Mr Venables.

“Ven had been our president, but had served us so well as treasurer for no less than 43 years. It’s not as president or treasurer that we will remember him, but as a true friend that we admired and respected. Nobody will ever be able to appreciate the enormous amount of work and help he gave to countless people during those years of service. His whole life was devoted to helping others – either through his profession, the association or the little touches of human kindness that so often went un-noticed. Without his kindness, help and determination, Canvey would not be the place it is today. Like all good friends, he will be missed and it will take a long time to realise we must press on without the benefit of his kindly wisdom. To us Ven, wasn’t just our president, but a man who we all admired and respected as a friend and one of the finest persons you could have ever met. No words will ever be able to express or tell of the wonderful work and help that he gave to so many people. One of Canvey’s great men.”

Funeral arrangements were by Stibbards.

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