Community 'shocked and devastated' to hear of Craft Coop director's death

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Maidonians have been left ‘shocked and devastated’ after a much-loved and familiar face in the community has passed away.

Deborah Jones was one of the directors of Craft Coop, a social enterprise that supports small craft businesses. She was co-directing with Teresa Mills.

Craft Coop has a base in Maidenhead town centre, and has also operated out of Slough, Windsor and Marlow.

Over the years, Craft Coop has supported hundreds of craftspeople who would otherwise struggle to drum up the money to find a base of operations to sell their creations.

Deborah worked hard to support small, independent craft vendors throughout the worst of times during the pandemic when many struggled to stay afloat.

She was actively involved in raising helping charities in the community, supporting Maidenhead United FC's charity drive, supporting the Brett Foundation with an 'upcycling' project and acting as a drop-off for hundreds of gifts for families in need, to name a few.

Due to the hard work of Deborah and the rest of Craft Coop, the collective won or was nominated for several awards over the years for its uniqueness and value wherever it held its pop-ups.

She also helped organise Maidenhead Town Show each year.

All this and Deborah's personality made her much appreciated by those who both worked with her and popped into the Craft Coop stores.

Her death was announced to the public by Craft Coop on Thursday (June 23). The following was written on its Facebook page:

“It is with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you all that Deborah Jones (joint Director of Craft Coop) died yesterday evening.

“I can't believe that this awesome woman is no longer with us.

“To me, she was a wonderful business partner, a tireless advocate for Craft Coop, funny, clever and kind. And a good friend to boot. I will miss her so much and I know all of you will too. I am lost for words....”

Within a few short hours, messages began streaming in from people ‘shocked’ and ‘devastated’ by the news.

More than 340 people have responded and more than 140 people have written their condolences so far.

In their messages, she was described as ‘a special, selfless person,’ ‘totally committed and conscientious’, kind, generous and nurturing with a ‘heart of gold’, always with words of encouragement for craftspeople.

Yet others noted how she was ‘full of spirit’, an ‘inspiration’ and a ‘force for good’, whose smile and words lifted people up.

Commenters noted that she will be ‘sorely missed’ by many.

On its Facebook, Strange Magic Crafts, which sells its wares via Craft Coop, wrote:

“Deborah was a friend to all and worked tirelessly to bring out community of crafters together. We will continue to strive to make her proud and she will be missed more than she would know.”

Alison Foster, of Ali-oops handbags, “[Deborah was] a lovely lady who really helped build my confidence around my craft and being accepting of myself.”

Margaret Robb, of Made by Maggie, described her as ‘the most patient person I ever met.’

“Supportive, kind, funny, endlessly selfless, a champion of small creative businesses long before it was a ‘thing’, resourceful and so hard working,” Margaret wrote.

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