Society philanthropist and respected charitable spokeswoman Rachel Dickson (MBE) dies

A well-respected MBE society patron and former councillor who championed community engagement dies aged 99.

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Cllr Rachel Dickson (MBE) passed away on August 6, six months before her centurion birthday.

Formerly known as ‘Mrs Richmond’, Cllr Dickson dedicated more than 60 years shaping the community of Richmond Upon Thames through charitable, political and various community projects like youth centres and housing.

Jonathan Monckton, Director of Richmond Parish Land Communities said: “She [Ms. Dickson] was a much valued and respected member of the parish community who helped set up housing in Queens Road Estate.

“Dickson House which is situated on Queens Road Estate was named after her.

“She helped with a number of charities including the Cambrian Community project and Caplin Court – a building consisting of eight one-bedroom flats.”

Ms Dickson became a Liberal Democrat Councillor during the 1970’s, 1980’s and was elected Deputy Mayor in 1986.

She also worked as a Chairman for various charities across the borough and in 1985 she was appointed as Chairmanship of the Richmond Parish Lands Charity and awarded an MBE for her dedication to helping and engaging with Richmond residents.

Ms Dickson became the fifth councillor to help modernise the Richmond Parish Land Communities – a charity dedicated to local projects in the borough as well as launching the Vineyard Project.

Mr Monckton continued: “Rachel helped to modernise Richmond Parish Community and was a supporter of the Vineyard Project – a project that championed itself with combatting homelessness.

“She was all about engaging with the community particularly housing projects, helping others, youth centre projects or dealing with the elderly.”

In 1957, Rachel joined the Richmond Society and was made Patron in 2007 alongside former ITV News Presenter Sir Trevor McDonald and the Baron of Richmond Lord Watson.

Other charities that Ms Dickson supported also include RABMIND – a mental health charity, Richmond Forum Lunches, Richmond Charities Almhouses and housing charity SPEAR.

From 1989 to 2001, Ms Dickson set up The Victim Support Scheme, Carrgomm Supported Housing, the Off the Record youth counselling service and the Richmond Furniture Exchange.

Sir David Williams, former Lib Dem leader for Richmond Council from 1983 to 2001 said: “She was enormously involved with charities far longer than she was councillor and was very much involved with Richmond parish charities which is why they named Dickson house after her.

“She inherited half of 116 Down House where she brought out the other relatives and sold the home to Mick Jagger.

“Rachel was a Councillor for Kew 1971 to 1974, and a Richmond Councillor from 1985 to 1986 where she left a major mark on Richmond.

“She was the first to tackle poverty and she will truly be missed because she made a unique mark and mobilised the voluntary sector in Richmond.”

The efforts of Ms Dickson also saw 400 subsidised homes being built on the estate in Queen’s Road along with Cambrian Community Centre.

Ms Dickson leaves behind three sons and five grandchildren.

The funeral service will take place on August 22 at Mortlake Crematorium.

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