Mollie Lewis (30 April 1911-21 August 2004), co-founder of Plaxtol Local History Group with our President, Jayne Semple FSA

Many in Plaxtol will remember the familiar sight of Mollie Lewis riding round the village on her moped carrying her painting materials and her reporter's notebook. She came to Plaxtol with her husband Ben in the 1950s to live at Keelers before buying The Roses in Dunks Green where they brought up 4 children. She had had a very interesting early life working as a journalist and sub-editor of the Nursing Times in London. Always interested in learning something new she even obtained her pilot's licence at Brooklands before the war. Having settled at The Roses after their early married life abroad withthe Navy, Mollie took an active part in everything local. 

Although she worked hard in the background of many organisations in Plaxtol, she was the mainstay of many others. She was founder member and first secretary of the Friends of Plaxtol Church, Memorial Hall Chairperson, as she would insist on calling it, W.I. President and editor of the WI magazine the West Kent News, as well as church historian and guardian of the church bier.  She was also a co-founder of the Plaxtol Art Group and main scenery painter for the Plaxtol Players. In 1955, with other WI members, she conceived the WI Scrapbook covering all aspects of village life. With Jayne Semple, she founded the Plaxtol Local History Group in 1985.  

Her history research notes form the major part of our village archives. She was an active member of several other history societies and, together with Jayne, she undertook a survey of historic barns and farm buildings in the area.  She was also adviser to the Tonbridge NADFAS group who recorded Plaxtol Church.

Mollie was an accomplished artist, painting in watercolours and oils and working in mosaics.  She was a great letter writer and had a marvellous way with words.  Following her book on the history of Plaxtol in 1957, she later published Plaxtol in the Seventeenth Century in1990. Both books are still selling well.

Surprisingly, her friends describe her as a shy person who did not like the limelight yet she encouraged many people to be successful in achieving that which they would not have dreamt of attempting.  In spite of her busy life she always had time for her family and grandchildren and village parties at The Roses.

Mollie and Ben moved from The Roses to Periwick Cottage in 1986 where she continued to live after Ben died in December 1995. In 1998, she moved to Radlett to be near her family. She was an exceptional person and, on her death on Saturday 21st August 2004, aged 93, we in Plaxtol lost a very dear friend.

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