Memorial service to be held for Stevenage New Town pioneer who ‘forged the way’

Stevenage New Town pioneer Connie Rees, who died at the age of 95.

Stevenage New Town pioneer Connie Rees, who died at the age of 95. - Credit: Archant

A memorial service for a Stevenage New Town pioneer, who had a passion for the place and its people, will be held in September.

Connie Rees organised the planting of rose bushes, by then MP Barbara Follett and then mayor Simon S

Connie Rees organised the planting of rose bushes, by then MP Barbara Follett and then mayor Simon Speller, at Fairlands Valley Park to mark Stevenage's 60th anniversary in 2006. - Credit: Archant

Connie Rees, who has died at the age of 95, moved with her husband Huw from Hackney to Stevenage in 1952.

Connie – who had three children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren – had worked as a Red Cross nurse during the Second World War as the Blitz devastated London.

She was a community stalwart and said she loved Stevenage largely because of the people.

She tirelessly campaigned to protect and improve the town, making her voice heard over issues ranging from healthcare to phone masts.


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Former Comet editor Darren Isted, who knew Connie for many years, said: “There are very few people in every community who truly have its best interests at heart but Connie was one of them.

“A determined person with the real pioneering spirit, Connie summed up all that is best about Stevenage at a time when groups of people from different parts of the country came together with little in common except the fact that they were building a new life together. Connie helped to give that real meaning and she will be greatly missed.”

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Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland added: “She was one of the New Town pioneers who forged the way for Stevenage to take its place at the heart of Hertfordshire.

“The leadership, community spirit and passion for our town was a foundation we can build on today.”

Connie, who lived first in Stony Croft and then in Sish Lane, co-wrote The History Makers: The Story of the Early Days of Stevenage New Town with her husband, who died in 2009 at the age of 87.

In 2006 she organised the planting of a commemorative tree in Fairlands Valley Park to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the new town.

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