Mabel Houghton

Mabel arrived in Cosgrove with her husband Derek on their retirement from the diplomatic service, representative of several such ladies whose husbands had been diplomats or had worked in Bletchley or Hanslope Park during and after WW2. After travelling the world, Mabel’s dream was to live in a quiet village near a country church, and her home at the crossroads in Cosgrove was exactly that.

Mabel was at times Churchwarden, Treasurer and fundraiser for Cosgrove. She was never without a clipboard and a list of jobs for anyone passing by. She ran the Sunday School and was a founder member of the village Guild.

When the restored weathercock arrived back in Cosgrove in 1992, Mabel put it on the floor and made all the Sunday School children jump over it, so that they could tell their grandchildren in years to come, “See that Weathercock on the Tower? I’ve jumped over that!” In 1993 Mabel co-ordinated the Cosgrove Festival, featuring a boat made of balloons.

Mabel and Brenda Clarke together started the Cosgrove Egg Races, which ran from Mabel’s gate to the Church. Mabel also organised the Millennium project, installing a kitchen and toilet in the Church, despite the death of Derek Houghton in 1998. In her later years, Mabel moved to Fegan’s Court in Stony Stratford, where she continued to organise the residents until her death in her 90s, still keeping an eye on Cosgrove. Her pew in the Church commemorates her work there.