It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Sanchia Elsdon. Sanchia had been a stalwart of The Midhurst Society (TMS) – and of the whole community – for many years, working hard and organizing, all the while shunning publicity. In fact, when we came to search our records, we could only find one photograph of her – the newspaper article celebrating the publishing of Midhurst in Living Memory (MILM). Fortunately, we were given access to a photo of Sanchia on her 90th birthday.

Sanchia came to live in Midhurst in 2004, after more than twenty years in Stedham and Iping, but following the death of her husband Arthur she needed to get stuck into something. At the time, Sue Whitehead, Chairman of TMS, was trying to get an oral history of Midhurst off the ground, and she found a willing helper in Sanchia. The project involved recording interviews with over 100 local people, and Sanchia typed them up; brought them together in a coherent order, and edited the book that was published in 2010. It is a wonderful legacy.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Sanchia then became involved in compiling and editing Stedham & Iping Remembered, published in 2010. (She had already helped compile and edit a history of Stedham and Iping, published in 2000.)

For many years she was an unofficial saleswoman for MILM, and played a regular part in the distribution of Midhurst Magazine. She remained active in all things Midhurstian, particularly if it related to gardening and horticulture, and was on hand to help Peter Sydenham research twentieth-century local history for his books. He wanted to dedicate one to Sanchia, but she refused. “Oh, don’t mention my name. Just thank everybody.” That was Sanchia; always there, working hard, but seeking no recognition.

Harvey Tordoff

More »