A TRIBUTE has been paid to Pam Stevens, a mainstay of the Alresford community, who died recently.

Mrs Stevens was at the heart of the work of the trust, organising the minibus as well as the Broad Street market.

Trust chairman Robin Atkins writes: Pam and her husband Brian lived in Alresford from the early 1970s where they brought up their two sons, Mark and Ian. When Brian became seriously ill Pam set up a secretarial agency where she could work from home.

In this context I sought her help to provide secretarial assistance for my accountancy practice in 1992 until the present day. When Brian died in 2007 she was able to devote her energy to a new venture, and was co-opted as a trustee to the New Alresford Town Trust. She remained a valuable trustee until her death on August 28.

Pam’s initial role was on the minibus committee where the key priority was to raise enough money for a new vehicle.

Pam ran the operation for the next 12 years and in 2020 she produced a booklet to celebrate 50 years of the minibus operation which started in 1970 by trustee Geoffrey Searle - unfortunately the celebration was cancelled due to Covid. Pam learnt quickly and she was determined that the Trust would always have sufficient monies for the purchase of subsequent minibuses. This was achieved by raising annual grants/donations from sponsors and since 2008 the Trust has raised a staggering £82,255 for the minibuses as well as £11,487 towards the minibus garage extension. As a consequence, the Trust was able to purchase a new minibus in 2017 at a cost of £58,454 without the need for special fund raising. A remarkable achievement by Pam.

The second major achievement was the separation of the town council from the affairs of the town trust. Since 1890 when the trust was formed the council could appoint five of the nine trustees so that it might influence decisions: furthermore some of these council-nominated trustees were uninterested in the trust. This relationship continued to deteriorate with eventually one of the nominated trustees refusing to support an annual minibus grant. Pam’s reaction was swift as she ordered the council’s logo on the minibus to be removed. Eventually Pam resolved with the other trustees to approach the Charity Commission and to become a members charity in 2015 with the council having no further involvement. This separation has been beneficial to both organisations.

The third significant achievement was the expansion of the weekly Thursday market together with the specialist markets such as the French, Italian and Brocante which has proved very popular. Alresford is now a real market town.

Pam was the hub and voice of the trust. Her main strengths were determination to get things done and do them properly and fairly. She always cared about the needs of the individual especially those in most need.

The trust will canvas ideas of how to celebrate her life and hold a commemorative gathering when Covid restrictions allow. What is certain is that we will need a large hall to accommodate her many relations, friends and admirers.

Personally, Pam has been a great friend and colleague over the last 28 years and the trust will never forget her hard work and achievements.

Robin Atkins

Chairman, New Alresford Town Trust