In the 19th century parishes were responsible for the maintenance of secondary roads. Surveyors of the Highway for Stoke Mandeville were alloted a gravel outcrop in Prestwood to enable gravel digging for road maintenance. Subsequently the rural district councils took over the maintenance of the parish roads and local gravel digging died out. For over 60 years the existence of the gravel pit was forgotten.
Then, in the 1980s, after considerable local research, it came to light that this parcel of land in Prestwood was, in fact, owned by Stoke Mandeville Parish Council. The Stoke Mandeville and Other Parishes Charity was constituted in November 1986 and the Charity Commission confirmed that the land became the sole property of the Charity. Part of the land was sold for building purposes and the proceeds were invested. The remainder is leased to Great Missenden Parish Council for allotment use.
A total of seven Trustees are appointed to the Charity by the participating Parish Councils - five from Stoke Mandeville, one from Great Missenden and one from Great and Little Hampden.
Under its constitution the Charity is not allowed to spend any of the original captial proceeds from the sale of the land and they remain in a range of investments managed by the Trustees with advice from the Charity's financial advisor.
The Charity may use the income from the investments for the sole benefit of the inhabitants of the three parishes set out in the constitution. Stoke Mandeville receives 10/11ths of the income and Great Missenden and Great and Little Hampden share the remaining 1/11th.
It must be emphasised that the Trustees have no discretions. They may only use the funds for the benefit of the inhabitiants of the three parishes of Stoke Mandeville, Great Missenden and Great & Little Hampden, and cannot enterain any requests from elsewhere.
image courtesy of Charter Photography