Richard Fox, Honorary Freeman of Wellington since 2010, has very sadly died after a short illness, aged 85, on Tuesday December 26, 2023, at Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton.

Richard was such a kind, heartwarming, genuine, inspirational Wellington, man. He was so genuinly interested in other people's lives. If you told him you supported a certain football team, in my case Arsenal, he would go out of his way to keep up with their progress and report back and ask searching questions  - always keeping you firmly on your toes! 

Richard Fox was born in 1938, the only son of Harry (Henry) Fox and his wife Edna (née Pocock). Like his father and grandfather (Francis Hugh) before him, Richard was educated at Marlborough College. He then completed his education at Cambridge University where he gained a degree in Maths.

He taught this subject at Westminster and Blundell's, both public schools. It was only when his father became very ill that he gave up teaching and came back to Wellington to help his mother look after him.  Richard never worked for Fox Brothers but has an extensive knowledge of the mills and family history

I loved the way he would ring people up on their birthdays and sing happy birthday down the phone and then turn up on your doorstep with a packet of cheese or box of biscuits - always bought Wellington, locally! We have received so many truly lovely messages since he became ill and subsequently after his death (these we plan to display at his funeral, for all to read). The emails and text messages (and his get well cards) have been so inspiring because he was so very caring about so many things so many subjects and so many people. He was very deeply loved by many, many people. Richard would never judge a person or really any situation or event  - whether we were family member, a neighbour or a friend at one of the many many organisations, charities he was involved in: from the Wellington and Taunton flower shows, the groups (friends) associated with Wellington In Bloom, Basins, Gardening Club, Friends of Wellington Park, Wellington History, Wellington Camera Club, Wellington Arts Centre, ALL the local sports clubs and not forgetting the ‘other’ Fox Bros & Co. mill at Uffculme - the much supported, Coldharbour Mill.  We were ALL seemingly made to feel very special by him with such genuine interest, encouragement and support.

His great love was rugby (and tea making on match days) but he had an interest in them all - he would attend numerous local Wellington matches (and training sessions) of rugby, hockey, football, cricket and many more.  His many loves from the railways to Dartmoor to the mountains of Switzerland and the wider alpine regions. The new Okehampton and Lynton railways as well as the local Wellington line and its claim to fame - the first train to top 100 mph down from Whiteball in 1904* Then there was the tunnel of course ….he had so many we could fill a book ….or two! He will be sadly missed yet easily remembered for his endearing, often slightly mischievous, smile. That 'very Richard’ backward wave and hands clasped behind his back, often clasping a plastic bag … full of a diary (maybe two), an interesting book or a small gift for someone. 

Please note: full funeral arrangements will be made public, as soon as the family have arranged this. 

* On 9 May 1904, whilst descending Wellington Bank, the GWR 3700 Class No. 3440 City of Truro was timed at 8.8 seconds between two quarter-mile posts, while hauling the "Ocean Mails" special from Plymouth to London Paddington. This timing was recorded from the train by Charles Rous-Marten, who wrote for The Railway Magazine and other journals. If exact (Rous-Marten's stopwatch read in multiples of 1/5 second), this time would correspond to a speed of 102.3 mph (164.6 km/h), while 9 seconds would correspond to exactly 100 mph.

Words by Ben and Victoria Fox.