Neville Manwaring Wells, Master Launderer 1973 – 1974 and much respected Senior Past Master for many years, much loved father of Frances, Michael and Martin, and grandfather to Daniel, Hannah, Jason, Joshua, Toby, Sam and Jack and great-grandfather to Deakan, died peacefully in his sleep at Maidstone Hospital with his children at his bedside, on 19th October 2021 after a short illness. A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving for the life of Neville was held at St Peter’s Church, Limpsfield on 25th November with a full church including many from the laundry industry, as well as the others representing the many activity groups he supported throughout his life.
Neville was born in 1925, son of Major Stanley Walter Wells, MBE (1887-1975), and his wife, the former Violet Manwaring (1888-1972). On the 19th May 1951, Neville married Margaret Mary Alexander (1929-2011), descendent of the Alexander baronets, daughter of Capt Sir Frank Samuel Alexander, 1st Baronet (1881-1959), and his wife the former Elsa Mary Collett (1894-1959), daughter of Sir Charles Henry Collett, 1st Baronet (1864-1938), and his wife the former Lilian Louisa Tonn (1876-1935).
Neville’s father, Major Stanley Wells, was Master of the Worshipful Company of Launderers in 1960/62 and they owned and ran two laundries in their working lives. Neville was one of the longest-serving choir members of both St Mary’s and St Peters, and he features in a choir photo taken in the 1950s, which hangs on the Choir Vestry stairs. Neville ‘retired’ from St Mary’s Choir in 2019/20 when Covid restrictions meant that they were unable to sing. As a resident of Limpsfield, Neville, ever the pragmatist, concentrated his efforts on St Peter’s Choir.
There will be many who remember Neville from the perspective of his diverse interests which included aviation, golf, tennis, walking, swimming as well as his choir singing. Both Neville and his father Stanley promoted the setting up of the the Worshipful Company of Launderers (1959/60) using their experience as active members of the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers (which can trace its origins back for 700 years). In the early days of the Launderers’ Company, meetings were in fact held at Tallow Chandlers Hall, Dowgate Hill, London.
Neville was a kind man with time for all with whom he came into contact with and, although in his nineties, he remained very active attending most Livery functions that he had time for in his busy diary, the last for the Launderers was a Sunday Lunch on the River Thames, Sunday, 22nd August 2021, which he attended with his daughter Fran. Neville will be missed by all.