It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Phil Pennell on 25th January 2021.
Chairman of the Parish Council, Councillor Dan Kinsey, said he was sad to learn of of the death of Philip, who was a founding and much loved member of Wombourne History Group, and sends his deepest condolences on behalf of Wombourne Parish Council to Sal, Nick, Mary and all of Philip’s family and friends.
Cllr. Dan Kinsey
Margaret King has provided the following appreciation:
Phil was a founder and much-valued member of WHiG.
Phil’s appreciation of Wombourne, the village in which he and his family have made their home for over 50 years, was utterly whole-hearted. That this love of the village also included its history was an enormous benefit when we came to set up WHiG for he, Tony Unwin and I were the founder members; that was when I first really came to know him and his family.
Phil was born in Birkenhead and married Mary, a Wolverhampton girl, in the town. His professional life was based in Sedgley, Worcester and Kidderminster where he worked as a Town Planning Officer ending his career as Director of Planning for Wyre Forest District Council. His MPhil thesis was on An Economic History of Bewdley 1770-1870 but one of his great passions was for maps; he liked nothing more than discussing and explaining them, particularly when WHiG mounted an exhibition. It was a great sorrow to him as for many of us that there were so few maps of Wombourne available, but he rejoiced in the splendid map which was attached to the 1840 Tithe map of the village. Another of his other passions was for Wombourne’s pubs (and presumably what they sold!). He knew a great deal about them and the subject still remains a “lost project” as he was never able to finish his long-promised article on these in time for it to be included in one of WHiG’s books. Perhaps Sal, who became his amanuensis, will make his work available at some future period.
Phil enjoyed life; he liked good food, good company and a party; Mary and he were generous hosts, but this joy for the good things of life was supported by a keen intellect. Everything he did was done with whole-hearted enthusiasm. This included driving his motorised scooter at risk to life and limb, resulting in several near accidents. Many of the current members of WHiG will not have known Phil before the major stroke which put him into a wheelchair and almost took his speech from him. Despite failing health and admissions to hospital he battled on, thanks to his own indomitable spirit and the support of Sal, Nick, Mary and a good band of carers. Those of us who knew him, particularly before his stroke, were the better for having met him. I was lucky in having his support during the early days of WHiG and my time as Secretary. I appreciated the man and all he tried to do for local history in Wombourne.