4th Jul, 2022

Willenhall campaigns for road name to honour 'legend' Betty Ennis

John Carlon 9th Nov, 2019

WILLENHALL residents are campaigning to pay tribute to a community stalwart by naming a road in her honour.

Betty Ennis was a dedicated campaigner for Willenhall, active in setting up Willenhall’s Hagard Centre and supporting the church of St John the Divine.

She passed away suddenly on August 22, aged 90 years.

Now the Willenhall community hopes to maintain her memory on the estate with a road named after her.

The nearby Bluebell Wood development was suggested as a possible place for a ‘Betty Ennis Road’.

Clel Sneddon, of the Hagard Centre, said: “Betty Ennis changed the very face of Willenhall and she was responsible for so much we take for granted today in our community.

“She dedicated her time to change the lives of others. She was responsible for everything from the Hagard community centre to the zebra crossing in the precinct.

“Betty needs to be remembered by future generations in Willenhall, so we will go all out to get a road named after her. It’s the least we can do to remember this remarkable lady.”

Noel Ennis, Betty’s son, said: “I knew a few of the things she had done, but it was only after she died people told me just how much she made happen in Willenhall.

“I think she was easily bored, even while raising us as young kids. There were six of us – Sean, Bob, Mick, Frank, Ron and me. When we were little, she would make us placards and we would be out demonstrating at the council against the rents being put up.

“She was very active in the Hagard Community Centre. She was there to get that started. She became a youth leader there and she ran horticulture classes, getting young people into gardening.

“She would always welcome people home and she would have a big pot of something cooking to feed the kids that came round, she loved to feed people.”

“My mum moved to Coventry after she originally came over from Iran. Her father was English, he had been stationed there in the first world war.

“After the second world war, when Coventry was flattened, the family came over. They were staying at the hostel at Baginton, and she met my dad who came from Ireland. He was a builder, they married and they were there when Willenhall was built.

“They actually let her pick out her house as she watched Remembrance Road being built, and that’s where she raised our family and where I was born.”

“When I first heard about the idea by Clel Sneddon at the Hagard Centre to have a road named after her, I burst out crying.

“I don’t mind how they go about naming it, it would just be lovely for her to be remembered by generations in Willenhall in the future.”

A spokesperson for Coventry Council Highways department said: “There may be an opportunity to change the road name, if the houses are unoccupied and allocated addresses have not been activated.”

“If the [Bluebell Wood] development is not available, we will look to have Betty’s name in a future development when one arises.

“It is practice to consult with the relevant bodies regarding the new road name, to make sure there are no conflicting names in the area.”

Persimmon stated they would actively support plans to name a road after Betty Ennis.

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