Bench provides a lasting memorial for caretaker

The Oxford Times: Colin Cook with the bench dedicated to Geoff Franklin Buy this photo Colin Cook with the bench dedicated to Geoff Franklin

WEST Oxford Community Centre has dedicated a memorial bench to former caretaker Geoff Franklin.

Mr Franklin, from Osney, who worked at the centre for more than a decade, died at the end of last year.

The community association received £225.67 in donations from residents and city councillor Colin Cook provided the outstanding £174.33 from his councillor ward budget.

The new West Oxford health hub is also planning to install a plaque on its door at the centre saying The Geoff Franklin Room.

Mr Cook said: “Geoff worked at the centre for a number of years and worked really hard. We wanted to mark his passing, a bench was suggested and I said I would be happy to help support with money from my community budget.”

He added: “The centre is the glue for the community. It allows the community to operate and brings everyone together.

“We are very lucky having such a relatively new and extremely popular facility so well-used.

“It relies on dedicated members of staff like Geoff.”

Tens of thousands of people have used the West Oxford Community Centre, in Botley Road, each year since its launch in 2001.

The former West Oxford Community Centre site, based in the former school in Binsey Lane, was sold to housing developers that year.

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The land was put up for sale the next year, and the proceeds used to pay for the new centre off Botley Road.

In 2009 the centre’s playground underwent a £65,000 renovation, which saw underused facilities from a play area in Helen Road, West Oxford, moved to a new location next to the centre.

In May 2011, the centre celebrated its 10th birthday with a party for 150 residents, joined by a troop of morris dancers.

Mr Franklin, who had then served as caretaker for nine years, told the Oxford Mail then: “It is a very important part of the community. It’s a lovely building and it is great to see so many people here to celebrate its anniversary.”

A community health centre – the Oxford Community Health Hub – opened in the building in January based in the rooms of the old GP surgery.

And in March the centre’s cafe opened after a substantial revamp.

For more information about the centre, visit woca.org.uk

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