Lady Carolyn Elwes of Colesbourne Park dies at 82

LADY Carolyn Elwes – wife of former Gloucestershire Lord Lieutenant Sir Henry Elwes – has died at the age of 82.

Sir Henry, 87, said she suffered a stroke on December 23 and died just hours later at Cheltenham General Hospital.

Lady Carolyn had been making a Christmas present on her sewing machine when she suddenly collapsed hitting her head.

Speaking from the family estate at Colesbourne Park near Cirencester, Sir Henry said: “I am completely shattered by Carolyn’s sudden death after 60 years of marriage. She was an amazing support to me and we had a marvellous understanding.”

Lady Carolyn was born in Ampney Crucis to Joe and Joyce Cripps.

She married Sir Henry in 1962 and they had three sons – John, Freddie and George, who sadly died in 1993.

In her 20s, she joined the NSPCC and Sir Henry says she was “a huge support” when he joined Gloucestershire County Council where he became leader.

“Public service was flowing in her blood,” recalled Sir Henry.

Carolyn became a major figure in St John Ambulance regionally and nationally – she was county commissioner and chairman, serving at the organisation’s Priory in London.

She instigated a new headquarters here in Gloucestershire at Staverton and gained the honour of Dame of Grace of St John, D St J.

Carolyn – as she she liked to be called – was appointed chairman of the county ambulance service until its amalgamation with the south west group.

She was the driving force behind the snowdrop collection at the Colesbourne estate which was described by Country Life magazine as ‘England’s greatest snowdrop garden’.

An expert needlewoman – taught by her grandfather – she completed many works, including an altar frontal at Westminster Abbey which was a joint work.

Carolyn was president of the Royal British Legion’s Gloucestershire women’s section and was involved with many local and national charities.

Privately, she was a countrywoman at heart – she bred class winning Cotswold sheep with another farmer, Margaret Powell, and loved her speckled grey Maran hens.

Sir Henry said: “Carolyn was a lady of many talents, not least as an expert salmon fisher. Almost always she caught more fish than anyone else in the party.

“The suddenness of Carolyn’s death while in rude health has left me and the whole family devastated.”


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