Hester Plaque Ceremony
Wintergardens Baptist Church 6th June 2009
The unveiling of a blue plaque to the Hester family, for me personally, came after many years of research into the Hester family and the role they played in the development of the Island. I first had contact with Paul Chetwin, Hester’s great grandson several years ago and it was great to see him here to witness the unveiling of the plaque. It has been two years since the idea of a plaque was first talked about, when Robert Hallmann and Dave Bullock toyed with the idea on the forum. A breakthrough was made with a proposal to the Town Council by Steve Bullock. Then the hunt was on for an appropriate place for the plaque to hang. The Winter Gardens Baptist Church agreed to have the plaque hanging on the church, very appropriate as the mono-rail ran nearby and Hester’s Winter Gardens was in the area.
At last the day dawned, overcast and rain threatening but it did not deter us from enjoying the event. The Archive set up a Hester display along with a table of old pictures and our cards and booklets. (Including Dave’s Hester booklet) The church had organised a sale of plants etc and cream teas. Carol Mayer, Hester’s granddaughter arrived with her husband, Bert and a picture of Frederick Hester which was hastily hung on the wall for the unveiling. Other members of the Hester family arrived, great grandson Paul Chetwin, son-in-law Ron Black and grandaughter Marilyn Farmanfarmai.
When it came time for the unveiling the sun briefly made an appearance but it was still quite chilly with the wind whipping down the road. Carol Mayer had been invited to unveil the plaque and she was introduced by Joan Liddiard on behalf of the Town Council, after giving a short speech outlining how the plaque had come about. Carol Mayer said a few words about how the family were proud of what Hester had done on Canvey before unveiling the plaque.
After photos it was time for those cream teas and very nice they were too. I think everyone can be pleased with how the day went. The church made us very welcome and I would like to thank them for putting on a great day. Thanks also go to the Town Council who made it all happen and thanks to the Hester family and everyone who came along. We made new contacts, renewed old ones and Fredrick Hester and his son are at last honoured for their contribution to Canvey Island’s history.