About Dora Matthews
"Dora Matthews stands tall in the town as a true citizen of Coleford who has given freely and willingly of her time for so many years and in so many ways in the service of her fellow citizens."
Dora Matthews was a life long forest resident, born in 1923 and raised 4 miles south of Coleford in the village of Bream. Always active Dora's life was constantly full of family and friends.
Dora moved to Coleford soon after her Marriage to Ronald Matthews on 17th August 1946 and i instantly became a dynamic presence in the local community. Joining the Community Association Committee she collected money door to door to raise funds for the new community centre which was to be built on Bank Street. Dora's efforts helped ensure the necessary funding, and the centre was opened by the Duchess of Gloucester in 1967.
Not satisfied with assisting with the creation of the new community centre, Dora actively encouraged the groups within the building. She became one of the centres most dedicated volunteers, serving both on committees, and behind the coffee bar.
When Dr Vernon Charley chemist at Carters Royal Forest Factory and the man responsible for the development of Ribena established a Luncheon club for the elderly, Dora was elected Chairman and held the position until her death in 2014.
The Luncheon Club gave the elderly an opportunity to come together for their mutual benefit and avoid loneliness. The club originally provided a hot drink and a filled roll, but with Dora's tenacity this eventually led to all members receiving a two course lunch. For 40 years Dora would be seen every week in the kitchen cooking all the food from scratch and serving it to the members, but this was not enough for Dora and she began holding a weekly raffle and table top sales to help provide a free Christmas dinners.
Always remaining modest Dora put down the success of the group to the
dedication of the team of volunteers. Asking any of the volunteers however they would say the success was due to Dora's energy and motivation.
Dora's hard work and dedication to the community of Coleford was recognised in 2005 with an invitation to the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. In 2009 she received an award from the Mayor of Coleford, where she was also named as a "Town Treasure" for her services to the community. An honour which she treasured as she said the recognition of her fellow foresters meant much much more.
The new community centre at the Main Place was completed in 2010 with Dora given the honour of opening the new building.