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His Honour Charles Elly

Charles at 10th anniv 2.jpg

20 March 1942 - 27 March 2021

It is with great sadness that we announce that the His Honour Charles Elly, our well-loved and highly respected Past Chairman, died on Saturday 27th March at Wexham Park Hospital, Berkshire. He had not been well for some time and had been under specialist treatment for a rare disease - Advanced Systemic Mastocytosis. However, he was still well enough until his last few days, to be involved in BGT matters, doing what he could as a Trustee, responding to planning matters and giving invaluable advice. We will sorely miss a real gentleman with a true sense of duty.


Our thoughts and prayers now go out to Marion, his wife, and his family and friends. Charles will be greatly missed by the Trustees as a friend and colleague and the many members who knew him. He was a guiding hand through his six years as Chairman, seeing through our programme of events and commitments and achieving BGT’s objectives during that time, taking us from strength to strength. 


We will be celebrating Charles and his contribution to the Berkshire Gardens Trust soon but many will remember that in 2019 Charles oversaw the celebrations to mark our tenth anniversary, held at Englefield House. It was a splendid day and Charles was in his element as this picture shows taken in the gardens.


After attending Sir William Borlase’s School in Marlow, Charles trained as a lawyer, graduating from Hertford College, Oxford and the College of Law in London.  On qualification he became a partner at a law firm in High Wycombe. Initially specialising in criminal law, then broadening into different areas of the law.

​Having served the Berks Bucks and Oxon Local Law Society as Secretary, Treasurer and then President, Charles was appointed as the President of the Law Society of England and Wales for 1994-95. Subsequently he became a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct. He was a Governor of the College of Law for 16 years from 1984 to 2000.

In 1998 he was appointed a Circuit Judge, first at Kingston, and then at Reading, being Designated Family Judge for Berkshire, retiring in 2012. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Kingston University.

Having practised at his law firm for 35 years and serving as a full time Circuit Judge for 15 years, Charles was honoured by his appointment as Deputy Lieutenant of the Royal County in 2011. 

He was dedicated in his service to his church community, undertaking almost every role in his local parish of Cookham Dean, serving as a churchwarden on three separate occasions and taking up the role of vice chair of the PCC. He was Lay Chairman of the Maidenhead Deanery Synod and a member of the Oxford Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council. 

Charles was President of the Cookham Society for 10 years from 1987 to 97; and Chairman of Governors at Sir William Borlase’s School for 5 years from 1996 to 2001. He also served as Chair of the Berkshire Gardens Trust, Chair of the Marlow Educational Trust and chaired the local village club and horticultural society.  He had a keen interest in the arts, particularly opera and ballet, and was heavily involved with National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies.

Click here for details of our Spring 2022 Lecture held in tribute to Charles.

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