Rachel Gill

An inspiration for my painting

“We moved here in 2000. We’d just got married and my husband Bob had a new job in Wokingham, and I was working in Oxford. We wanted somewhere in between the two. We looked at the OS map and we saw Watlington, surrounded by bridleways and footpaths. One day we came out and had lunch in the Pantry, as it was then, and I decided I wanted to live here! The nice architecture, the size, the amenities were all great, but the main thing was just to be able to get straight into the countryside from the back door.

We didn’t really know anyone except our neighbours to start with, but in 2003 we had our first child Emma and started to meet a lot more people. Everyone is so friendly. I got more and more involved with the community, starting with setting up a baby group with some friends in the Memorial Hall. Emma is now 13 and goes to school with some of the children who used to go to Baby Group with her.

I was made redundant from my job in 2010, which gave me the opportunity to spend more time painting. I paint mainly seascapes and landscapes, and I have painted the view from Watlington Hill many times. I experiment using different colours, so my paintings are semi-abstract and not necessarily the colours you see.

Being made redundant also gave me the opportunity to be more involved in the community. I have been involved with the Art Show and with running Cycling Proficiency at the primary school for 8 years. I’m also the administrator for the Neighbourhood Plan.

It’s amazing how much some people do for the community and how many clubs and societies there are. Working in the Parish Office you get a really good view of how much is going on because people come in to book rooms or talk about running events in the town. People might not realise that a lot of great things about Watlington are down to the Parish Council, which has taken on the free car park, the public toilets, rooms you can book, flowers round the Memorial and campaigns for better public transport.”

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