Now that the Lightfoot Tower restoration is complete (and almost paid for), as Librarian/Custodian of the Zoé Vallé Memorial Library I would like to say a few words in appreciation of the work done by the Chester Trust and Suzi Fraser.
The Library, which means the Committee of Trustees and the Zoé Vallé Lightfoot Endowment Fund, has never had the resources necessary to maintain the Lightfoot Tower and it remained as a deteriorating structure for decades. Nonetheless, the Tower has always been a landmark and many people have fond memories of it from growing up in the village. One of those people was Suzi Fraser.
When the Tower was starting to deteriorate, years after the restoration by the Chester Municipal Heritage Society in 1985, the Chester Trust was approached about helping to repair the Tower and keep it from being lost to the community. In 2006, the scope of the project consisted of replacing the rotting staircase. Suzi, as Chair of the Chester Trust, made a commitment and steadfastly remained at the helm through the entire fundraising and restoration.
But it wasn’t just the staircase, the rot was everywhere and getting worse even as funds were being raised year after year. There were engineering plans to be dealt with, changes in building regulations that increased costs, issues of sustainability and long-term maintenance that had to be balanced against the heritage character and designation of the site. The restored Tower stands here today as a result of Suzi’s dedication, determination and leadership. A big thank you to her and all those who helped her make the restoration a reality.