Wendy Rayner, community campaigner

Wendy Rayner
Wendy Rayner
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Wendy Rayner, who has died at 75, was a community campaigner who was instrumental in the construction of the elegant footbridge that unfurls over the River Aire at Castleford.

She had championed the project on Kevin McCloud’s Channel 4 programme, Big Town Plan, as a means of linking the town centre with the settlement just opposite known as Duck Island, on which she and her family had lived for two centuries.

Wendy Rayner with Castleford 'Bridge designer Renato Benedetti

Wendy Rayner with Castleford 'Bridge designer Renato Benedetti

It was one of many such initiatives into which she threw herself, and her contribution to the community was recognised when a street on the Navigation Point housing development was named in her honour.

The initial plans for the bridge had envisaged just a basic, concrete structure. But in partnership with Alison Drake, of the Castleford Heritage Trust, Ms Rayner told the architects in no uncertain terms that it was not good enough. She kept up the pressure until they had produced something more fitting.

She had become involved in community work in 2000, after she had retired as a cook. A residents’ campaign at the time against building houses on an allotment site had came to nought but had led to the formation of the Lock Lane Residents’ Group, which she chaired for many years while her husband, Rod, acted as secretary.

Among the group’s achievements were the creation of a riverside garden, a memorial to local people who died in the First World War and the launch of a popular maypole dancing team.

She was also a prominent member of the Heritage Trust when it made the decision to buy Queen’s Mill, the old Allinson’s Mill on the Aire, which was thought to have been the largest stone grinding plant in the world.