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Former Deanshanger Councillors Honoured

Published: 23rd March 2009 08:48

Plaque in honour of Pete Henson. Plaque in honour of Pete Henson.


Suzanne Goldstein, Jeanette Cohen, Mary Henson & Jill Dumbleton.Suzanne Goldstein, Jeanette Cohen, Mary Henson & Jill Dumbleton.
Deanshanger honoured two of its former Councillors H J Wreschner  and W D Henson when plaques to their memory were unveiled in the village’s superb Community Centre.
Cllr Hans Wreschner’s daughters Suzanne Goldstein and Jeannette Cohen had travelled from London to unveil their father’s plaque. Suzanne explained that her grandfather Abraham Wreschner operated a successful oxide works in Germany, but when in 1934 President Hindenburg died and Hitler seized power, he and his wife Hertha joined the many hundreds of mainly Jewish refugees who left Germany to escape Nazi tyranny and fled to England. They bought an old foundry in Deanshanger that had become bankrupt and there continued to produce oxide that was used to colour glass and paints. Hans their son and Suzanne and Jeanette’s father, first completed a degree in chemistry in Zurich in neutral Switzerland and then at the age of 24 joined the family business in Deanshanger. Their company not only thrived and became the largest producer of iron oxide dye in Britain but provided much needed employment for local people. Hans and his brother Kurt who succeeded Abraham as Chairman of the company in 1950, became British citizens and were heavily involved in the activities of their Deanshanger community. Hans was elected a Liberal Councillor for Deanshanger. He served on South Northamptonshire Council for many years and was honoured to be appointed Chairman during 1991 and 1992.
Tom Powell who served as Hans Wreschner’s gardener for over 40 years, attended the ceremony to remember a man he clearly honoured and respected.
Cllr Henson’s widow Mary who performed the unveiling together with daughter Jill Dumbleton explained that although he was known universally as Pete, his actual first names were William Dennis – hence the initials WD on the plaque. Mary added with a smile that why he was called Pete remains a mystery lost in the mists of time. Pete, who was born in Deanshanger, worked at the Wolverton Railway Works and took a great interest in the affairs of his village – particularly its football, tennis and cricket clubs. It was no surprise when he was appointed a magistrate on the Towcester bench and in addition to his work on the Parish Council, was elected a Labour District Councillor for Deanshanger. He served on South Northamptonshire Council for many years and was honoured to be appointed Chairman during 1996 and 1997.
Cllr David Aaronson current Vice Chairman of South Northamptonsire Council who succeeded Pete Henson as a Labour District Councillor and even wore one of his ties to the unveiling ceremony, described how Hans and Pete, despite one being Labour and the other Liberal, worked very well as a team for the benefit of their village. They would both have been very proud of the wonderful new library and facilities that have recently been built onto the old Bethany Hall to form a prestigious Community Centre. Ironically, much of the money for the new Centre was provided under a Section 109 Agreement whereby planning permission was granted to redevelop the site of Hans Wreschner’s old factory on condition that the developers made funds available to improve the village’s facilities.

John Riches

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