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Plaque is unveiled to celebrate the life of John Verney

Male and female remove a red cloth to reveal a plaque on wall

The Mayor of Farnham has unveiled a plaque on Farnham’s wall of famous names in South Street to commemorate the many talents of the late John Verney. 

Family members, friends and admirers of John Verney’s work gathered at the ceremony to celebrate his achievements as an author, illustrator, painter, soldier and independent councillor.

After the unveiling, guests joined the Mayor, Councillor Alan Earwaker in the Council Chamber for refreshments and the opportunity to reminisce and share stories. 

In his speech, the Mayor described some of the ways John Verney left a lasting and great impression on both Farnham and the people he met during his 80 years of life. 

Born in 1913, John went on to become a decorated war hero, with both a Military Cross and Legion D’honneur, he fought in several campaigns and was one of the first members of the SAS and SBS.

John was a talented artist and published author too. As a painter, he often added a touch of humour to his work. One of his works can be seen on display at Farnham Town Council and depicts the great debate to save the Farnham Maltings. Although John Verney wasn’t able to persuade his colleagues on that particular occasion, his tremendous legacy is that he did succeed and his successors have built on his vision to create a cultural jewel for Farnham. 

John Verney’s many books included ‘Going to the Wars’ which is a personal account of his time in World War II, his ‘Callendars’ series of children’s books set in Farnham, and his wonderful illustrated ‘Dodo’ pads and address books which are still in print today. 

As a trained architect, John Verney had a passion for Farnham’s ancient buildings.  He led a committee looking at the grading of local buildings and was a founder of the Farnham Building Preservation Trust. He was an active member of The Farnham Society and was their chairman from 1962 to 1965.

In 1968 John Verney was elected as the local councillor for Castle Ward. He held the seat through the 1971 election and only left the Farnham Urban District Council when it was merged and became Waverley District Council in 1974.

John Verney was married to Jan and together they had seven children. They lived in Farnham for 30 years before moving to Suffolk. 

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