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through the door What do you do

now? Don Roper Don Roper is one of Storrington and S u l l i ngton ’ s mos t committed citizens, maintaining his involvement in numerous Parish initiatives and community developments. by Mark Lewis

Don Roper at his home in Storrington

I chose “What Do You Do Now” as the title for my column because I felt it would be an appropriate topic for consideration given that we all have a propensity to review what we did “then”. In truth, it would have been easier for me to ask Don Roper, “What don’t you do now?”.

Possessed of an electric cheeky personality and stoic fortitude, Don Roper is one of Storrington and Sullington’s most committed citizens in terms of involvement in local Parish initiatives and community developments. Don is also at the hub of a plethora of the friendly groups of which he is a member.

One such - “Don’s lot” - is a walking group which meets each week for a light trek, healthy gossip and refreshments. Originally the Leisure Centre Walking Group, it’s name changed as the orientation of the group moved away from the centre. Whilst lately Don hasn’t been able to go on the walks the group is still active and his legacy lives on.

A widower of three years, Don lives in a well appointed bungalow near the Sullington village hall and easily commutes four evenings a month to attend to the stuff of the various Parish Council committees on which he sits. Each is able to benefit from the exceptional grass roots experience he brings as an active councillor and local resident of some forty years.

In his capacity on the Planning Committee, Don often drives off somewhere to view a building, a field or someone’s backyard to report back the realities of a hotly contested application to put up a fence or adjust a front drive. This is in addition to the more complicated issues such as, dare I mention, the proposed development of Waitrose.

This is something Don finds very fulfilling, having to juggle the multitude of individual agendas with the benefits to be had for the community. A wide, healthy perspective and a deep insight into the minutiae of social and public amenities in the area allow Don to comment with authority.

Taking the position of Sub Manager of Lloyds Bank Storrington in 1969, Don and his wife Beryl first got involved in local issues via the Guides, with Don as its treasurer, and Beryl inevitably becoming Brown Owl. The Guide Hall was practically a derelict building, given the standards or our current municipal facilities today. Don led the parents in various initiatives to raise money for its refurbishment. These included collecting paper and selling it for recycling, and organising up to three barn dances and discos a year. More people came in to the bank to by the barn dance tickets than did business in the bank. “It was a team effort and very hard work “ Don remembers.

Local People 33

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