Mrs Olive Eden, OBE.


In the September quarter of 1930 Miss Olive Lax married Mr James Eden and within a few short years they moved south to Chaddesden after a long period of unemployment for Jimmy in their home town of Sunderland. He found work at Celanese before moving to Rolls-Royce for the rest of his working life. They settled at No 44 Rupert Road and Olive Eden, as she now was, went into local politics. Olive was elected to Chaddesden Parish Council in 1946, and shortly afterwards was elected to Derbyshire County Council, becoming a County Alderman in 1957.

Her long chairmanship of the parish council ran simultaneously with her work on the County Education Committee and on the South Derbyshire Divisional Executive, of which she was vice chairman for many years. Chaddesden County Secondary School, which was opened in 1955 was renamed The Olive Eden Secondary School in her honour.

Margaret Poyser, one of our archive team recalls,

“I knew her best for her role with the elderly folk of Chaddesden. There was a brick shelter set just above the cricket ground where the pensioners would go for a chat and watch the cricket match’s, my ‘Grandpa’ was one of them. Eventually there was need for a larger building as the membership continued to grow, so the Wooden Hut arrived. Various activities were held for the members including a luncheon club, craft making, trips and visits as well as the annual holiday by coach to the seaside, usually for a week. Bertha Jackson of 24 Rupert Road would help Olive Eden with the running of the group in the role of organiser. There was a team of ladies who would put on teas for the members, as well as organising a sick visiting rota whenever a member was ill or infirm. Was this a forerunner of today’s social services? Local youth groups would be drafted in to help with redecorating and other help. This building is much bigger now with more facilities to help the elderly citizens of Chaddesden.”

As Margaret has shown, it is in the voluntary sphere that Olive took greatest pride. As well as chairman of Derbyshire Old Peoples Welfare Committee and her membership of the Derbyshire Association of Parish Councils she was also a member of the National Association of Old Peoples Welfare Committees. Her very busy life was not allowed to undermine her precious family privacy, which she cherished, and it was this side of her life that sustained her in her more public role.

Olive left the Chaddesden Parish Council in 1962 and despite ill health and overcoming the effects of a nasty car crash, she stood for re-election to the same body in 1965.

Olive Eden was appointed a Justice of the Peace and sat on many Court hearings and she was also awarded an OBE for her outstanding contribution to Chaddesden and its citizens.

After spending most of her life helping the people of Chaddesden, Olive died in June of 1997 at 89 years of age.

Thanks to The Derby Telegraph, Margaret Poyser, Peter Cholerton, Tony Bowler and the late Maureen Hunt for information regarding this article.

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