Grace Reynolds (MBE) (1885-1976)

Grace Reynolds (MBE) (Courtesy of Surrey Heath Museum)

Grace Margery Isabella Reynolds was born in London in 1885, the eldest daughter of Thomas and Mrs Reynolds. Shortly afterwards, the family moved to “Edgemoor” in Frimley.

In 1902, at the age of 18, she started teaching the Sunday School at St Paul’s Church Hall. Later these classes were held at her home, “Edgeway”, on the Upper Chobham Road. These were primarily for the older boys after she realised that there were no games or clubs for them to attend.

Following a trip to Canada in 1904, a young Miss Reynolds brought back a maple leaf badge for each member. This was adopted as their emblem and the club became known as the Maple Leaf Boys Club. In 1908 the name changed to the Frimley and Camberley Cadet Corps and later became part of the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment.

Miss Reynolds devoted nearly all her life to this organisation to “ensure that the many hundreds of boys who passed through the Frimley and Camberley Cadet under her care should start their life along the right roads and become loyal and good citizens” (Colonel K.L. Beddington). They originally met in St. Paul’s Church Room and moved to its present head quarters at Carid Hall in 1919.

The Cadet Corp went from strength to strength and celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in July 1968 in the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra. Many members fought in both World Wars, with fifty-eight former cadets giving their lives in active service.

Grace Reynolds was also very active in local public life. She was a member of the governing bodies of several local schools where the welfare of the children and staff was always paramount in her mind. As a Justice of the Peace for 17 years, she was always human, kind and understanding, although stern when needed. Twelve of these years were as a Deputy Chairman of the Camberley Bench.

Described as “a wonderful person whose life was spent in the service of others”, in 1947 she was made an MBE, and was honoured for her work for the town by Frimley and Camberley Urban District Council, which named Grace Reynolds Walk in the two centre after her. She was presented with an illuminated scroll.
She died peacefully at her home on Wednesday 25th February 1976, aged 90. After a private funeral, a Service of Thanksgiving was held at St Peters Church, Frimley where her ashes were placed in the Reynolds’ family grave.

Grace was just one of the talented Surrey Women featured in Surrey Museums Month 2017. To find out more about the event and other celebrated Surrey Women click here.

Extract courtesy of Surrey Heath Museum.

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