Anne Wilks (1918 – 2012)
Anne Wilks was a tireless campaigner who devoted her life to preserving Whitstable for future generations. Anne, who lived in Whitstable for 82 years, helped to keep pathways open, to rescue rights of way and ban building on beaches and will be remembered for her fighting spirit.
Walkers have Mrs Wilks to thank for making many of the area’s paths into rights of way and ensuring Kent County Council looks after them. A chain of village greens created on the coast are also thanks to her, and a seafront path close to tennis courts off Island Wall was named Wilks Way in her honour.
In the early 1990s, Anne and another campaigner, Peggy Starkey, continued the village green movement started in 1969 by Bessie Aggersberg. The women secured acres of open space for public use, protecting it from future development, and the area on Duncan Downs, is still enjoyed by the people of Whitstable today. Mrs Wilks was awarded the Lord Mayor of Canterbury’s Award in 1999 in recognition of her community work.
Although Anne secured Village Green status for significant sections of Whitstable beach at Seasalter, it was always her intention that the entire beach should enjoy this level of protection. Unfortunately, her application in 2002 was thwarted by bureaucracy and expensive barristers but we hope that we will be able to right this wrong. The people of Whitstable and future generations have much to thank Anne for. Her years of public-spirited service have set an example to us all.