Miss Ann Le Bas
Ann’s family came to this country originally in the 17th century as refugees from France and the persecution of the Protestants there. She was very proud of her Huguenot heritage and there was seldom a Sunday Service when she was not seen in her pew in Church. She was churchwarden for 25 years, up to 1985.
Ann was born in Camberley, but while she was still small the family went to India, where her father was sent to serve in the Army. They were back in England by the time she was six and from then on she was brought up by her father and grandparents in the house in Winsford which they had had built.
Of her 97 years she had spent 90 in that house, and only left it a few days before she died. Ann had a real Exmoor upbringing: riding and dancing and outdoor activities. She went to West Heath, a girls boarding school in Kent, followed by various art colleges in London after which she became a respected artist and printmaker. She belonged to several societies in her career; as an engraver and etcher she served on the Council of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers and exhibited her paintings and prints with the New English Art Club in London. Her skills and commitment to her work as an artist gained much respect and admiration. She often exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and many people on Exmoor have one or more of her works on their walls.
Following the death of her father, Ann shared the house with a friend of his, Peta Graham, but she sadly died of cancer, since when Ann has lived alone, always busy painting and printing in her lovely studio in Winsford. She gave land for the Cricket Club and the tennis courts and was President of the Cricket Club for many years, always attending the Annual Dinner and presenting the prizes. People with a problem would often consult Ann and she was a fund of information about Exmoor, always ready to help when she could, contributing generously to the happiness of others. We shall probably never know how many people she helped in one way or another, but she was respected and admired by all and her passing will leave a gap which can never be filled.
Other village have a squire, Sir or Lady someone, perhaps. We have had “Miss Anne”. May she rest in peace.