Tributes paid to stalwart, 94, who spent life helping others

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Tributes have been paid to a former Scout leader who influenced generations of Sudbury boys.

Margaret ‘Bill’ Shaw was buried on New Year’s Eve in front of only a dozen people despite a lifetime of helping others in the community.

Mrs Shaw was better known for more than half-a-century as Akela to the Cubs of the 3rd Sudbury Scout troop.

The troop was led by her husband, Ernest, and together they dedicated themselves to the Scout movement for most of their lives.

She died in December at the age of 94 in St Joseph’s Care Home, seven years after her husband died.

Her funeral service was held at St Mary’s Church, Chilton. She had lived in Newton Road, Chilton, for much of her life.

In a tribute at her funeral, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, now in his 70s, described the Shaws as “an extraordinary couple”.

“I get fed up seeing so-called celebrities in the pages of every newspaper,” he said.

“They were true celebrities because they made a phenomenal contribution to the life of this community for so long.

“They started in 1937 and, in their 70s, they were still serving it with love, care, humility and practical help.”

Peter Clifford, an acting member of Chilton Parish Council, said as a Cub leader, Mrs Shaw had taken him under her wing when he first arrived in Sudbury as a seven-year-old, making a real difference to his life.

Not having children of their own, the couple played happy roles in the lives of their nephews, Roger Dalton and Stephen Ascott, and niece Liz Cole.

Mrs Shaw was one of two daughters of the artist and architect Paul Earee. His other daughter, Joan Ascott, is now 99.

For many years, the sisters ran the successful Simon of Sudbury wool shop in North Street.