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Eynsham Village News

Mollie Harris (1913-1995) 1 Mar 1996 This obituary of 'Eynsham's most widely known inhabitant ever' first appeared in Eynsham Record 13, 1996 page 3.

Mollie Harris, who died on 2 October 1995 at the age of 82, was surely Eynsham's most widely known inhabitant ever since 1970, when she began to 'commute' to Ambridge as Martha Woodford, the village shopkeeper in The Archers, playing this part for the rest of her life.

Extensive obituaries in The Times, Guardian and Independent testify to her national popularity. But her fictional persona was by no means her only legacy. She wrote no fewer than 11 books, of which the most important for local historians are her autobiographical accounts of a childhood in Ducklington; and From Acre End, in which she records the recollections of some 23 old Eynsham folk.

She was a natural public speaker, although it is said that writing was more of a struggle. What shines through in all her books is a deep affection for all the places and people she wrote about. She was a keen walker, dog lover, maker of country wines, and fund raiser for the Imperial Cancer Campaign. Her cheery greeting "Allo moy dear!" is sadly missed around the village.

Mollie's books (all published by Chatto & Windus):

  • A Kind of Magic (1969)
  • Another Kind of Magic (1971)
  • The Green Years (1976)
  • The Archers' Country Cookbook
  • From Acre End (1982)
  • Where the Windrush Flows (1989)
  • Wychwood: the secret Cotswold forest (1991)
  • A Drop o' Wine (with Helen Peacocke) (1983)
  • Cotswold Privies (with her neighbour, Sue Chapman) (1984)
  • Privies Galore (1990)
  • The Magic of the Cotswold Way (1987)

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