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Villager will be remembered with face carved into church tower

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 21, 2013

  • IMMORTALISED: Nora Sly's face has been carved into St Mary's Church

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VILLAGERS have carved more than the name of Nora Sly with pride.

When residents in Cowley were told they could carve the image of a person into a crocket – a small stone tower – on St Mary's, the smiling face of Nora Sly immediately sprang to mind.

They unanimously voted to immortalise Nora, who has lived in the village all her life and been attending the church for around 60 years.

Nora, a retired secretary, said she was overwhelmed when she was told about the community's plans to honour her.

She said: "I was absolutely astounded when they told me they were going to put my face on the church.

"There are a lot of people who are more deserving of the honour than me.

"I did not feel it was all that flattering, though, but they have to make things stand out with a caricature.

"I did not know anything about it until they told me at a parish meeting that it had already been carved."

Nora said it was humbling to know that future generations will be able to look up at the church and see her likeness.

"To think it's going to be there for all these years and that people will think of me in generations to come is overwhelming," she said.

Nora has lived in her current home in the village since she was three and has seen great changes over the decades.

She said: "The village used to be all farms, but there is not one now. All the buildings have been converted into homes."

As she lives alone and her closest relative is in Upper Rissington, villagers in Cowley all pitch in to help Nora – with a rota of people who help her with her shopping.

She added: "My neighbours are wonderful with helping me, but I try not to impose on them. It's nice to have such a tight-knit community these days."

Jill Clark was among the villagers who voted to have Nora's face carved onto the church roof.

She said: "We had to have new crockets put up on the roof and the man who built them suggested we have a face carved on one.

"We all immediately decided it should be Nora. She was unanimously our first choice."

A party for Nora's 90th birthday will be held in the village on January 31.

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