Sally Dugan - Born 25 January 1954 - Died 18 June 2018, aged 64.

Sally DuganSally Dugan was a founding member of the web group and Editor of the Brightwell-cum-Sotwell website since it began in 2003. She lived in the village with her family for 38 years. Having grown up in another Oxfordshire village, Steeple Aston, she had a strong sense of village community spirit and became involved in many activities.

To anyone attending the village fete, she will be known as the secretary of the Flower and Produce Show, encouraging young and old to enter as many different categories as possible. She liked gardening and ran the allotments for several years. Her classic cottage garden in front of The Woodman and Old Bakery on Brightwell Street stopped many passers-by in their tracks.

Sally was a strong advocate of the village Primary School, becoming a governor and then chairman of the governors. At St Agatha’s Church she was a sidesman and organised the church rota. For many years she was a keen bell-ringer, having learned to ring bells as a child.

Sally used her skills as a writer and editor in many village roles. None was more testing than the first Parish Plan fourteen years ago. She navigated the many conflicting interests and raised voices – into a coherent document. It was held up across Oxfordshire as a model of what Village Plans should be.

In recent years, she was a founding trustee member of Brightwell Supporting Refugees and went on the fact-finding mission to Jordan. This led her to volunteer in Oxford for Asylum Welcome, teaching refugees who were learning English.

When Sally moved to the village with David in 1980, she was Woman’s Editor of the Oxford Times. Later she taught English at Wychwood School in Oxford; and after obtaining her PhD, taught English Literature at Oxford Brookes. She wrote articles for The Times and Radio Times; and wrote several books including one based on her thesis on Baroness Orczy and the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Sally and David’s two children, Christopher and Emily both went to the village primary school in the 1980’s. Sally loved Brightwell and was delighted to take her two-year-old granddaughter, Matilda, to play on the swings and seesaw in the recreation ground, just as she did over three decades before with Chris and Em.

Her passion for the village is best summed up in her own words on the back of the 2004 Parish Plan:

“To the passer-by, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell is simply a rather odd name on some signs between Didcot and Wallingford. The village itself is well hidden from the road, and may attract little more than a casual glance. However, to its inhabitants – and to the many people who visit to enjoy its pub, footpaths, and green open spaces – the parish of Brightwell-Cum-Sotwell is special. It is an attempt to define this ‘specialness’ that is the driving force behind this Parish Plan. For, all too often, people only realise something is special when it is gone.”

This sentiment applies as much now as it did in 2004.

A service to celebrate her life will be held at St Agatha’s Church, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, on Friday 29 June at 2pm.

Donations in memory of Sally Dugan can be made to:

Brightwell Supporting Refugees:

Sort Code 30-99-03 / Account No 26236060. (Please include your name as reference)