Evelyn was a quiet but 'driving force'

PUBLISHED: 15:30 06 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 10 June 2010

A BUDLEIGH Salterton woman, who worked tirelessly for people with learning disabilities and regularly spoke her mind about their needs, has died, aged 94. Evelyn Duncum, of Granary Lane, championed the cause of scores of Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton peo

A BUDLEIGH Salterton woman, who worked tirelessly for people with learning disabilities and regularly spoke her mind about their needs, has died, aged 94.Evelyn Duncum, of Granary Lane, championed the cause of scores of Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton people with learning disabilities and was instrumental in the setting up of the Norman Lea Society - a home for disabled people.Evelyn's passion and drive to give disabled people a voice and equal rights was fuelled by caring for a disabled child.She was heavily involved with Mencap, when the group used to meet in the church hall in Exeter RoadLater, when the Doyle Centre was set up in Exmouth, Evelyn, a former owner of the Lawn Bakery and Teashop, took a supporting role from the earliest stages and campaigned tirelessly to raise funds to build a therapy pool at the site.She set up Mencap groups in Exmouth, Axminster and Cullompton and since 1966 was chairman of Budleigh Salterton's Mencap group.The Norman Lea Society was set up after Evelyn realised parents of disabled children worried about who would one day care for their offspring when they were no longer around.She set up both premises and also Friends of the Norman Lea Society.She was life president of the society, which has charitable status, and remained an active and vital cog in its running until four years ago. Daughter Paula McConnell said: "She did good by her stealth. She was very strong but a very kind and caring person. She did it all. She was a driving force and she was an unassuming person - very quiet but also very determined."She conceived the idea that Mencap could help set up a home. The home was granted and the money was granted by Mr Norman."She did all the negotiating with the housing association and got it all set up for eight people in Albion Hill, which was the first home."Ten years later a second home was set up in Pound Lane."Evelyn Duncum died on January 22, and leaves daughters Paula and Alison McConnell and son Roderick McConnell.A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, May 2, at 2pm, at Budleigh Salterton's Temple Methodist Church.A cream tea and refreshments will be served. All who knew Evelyn are welcome.

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