William Chastell, the founder Chairman of The Flitch Way Action Group, has died aged 85.

His hard work for the Dunmow community over many years led to him receiving an award from Great Dunmow Town Council in 2019.

Born in London, and evacuated during the war to Bedfordshire, he later settled in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

A keen cyclist, he first became aware of the Flitch Way when creating a cycling route for the Tye Green Challenge for over 100 riders that covered six hamlets and villages.

He was disappointed that the bridleway came to an abrupt and muddy end on either side of Great Dunmow.

With the help of the Friends of the Flitch Way and Essex Bridleways Association he set about connecting both parts of the Flitch Way and the project was born.

The Flitch Way Action Group said that despite deteriorating health, William Chastell made the journey to Great Dunmow by train and bus at least once a month to chair meetings.

He frequently met with developers, such as Taylor Wimpey and Redrow, landowners such as Bishop’s Stortford College, and Essex County Council Public Rights of Way in Chelmsford to help secure new bridleways.

He knew how to engage and inspire people to get the plan delivered. Some sections of the link have been built, such as Maynard Park and The Brambles just off the Ongar Road.

He left a legacy of a firm plan and a commitment from all parties that this work will be finished.

The Flitch Way Action Group and William’s many friends in Great Dunmow said they are committed to continuing William’s good work to make his dream a reality.

His efforts open up new opportunities for Great Dunmow residents such as establishing a link to the proposed new school at Buttleys Lane, improving the bridleway near the old Winfresh Foods warehouse, known to many as the old banana factory off High Cross Lane in Canfield when it is redeveloped, and reconnecting the Flitch Way to Bishop's Stortford.

William leaves his wife Rita, their three children and grandchildren.

Learn more at the work he, and the group have done, at www.flitchwayactiongroup.org.