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Judy Munt 1933 - 2017
Eulogy to Judy Munt
by Robert McNeil Wilson
I stand here as Judy's friend.
It was a blessing to be able to count Judy Munt as a friend and so,
it is a profound honour to have been asked to give the Eulogy to her and her remarkable life.
Judy was born, Judy MacLaren, in 1933. It is important to make reference to her maiden name because it is well-known to many that she
was proud of her Scottish origins, her Clan MacLaren and her beloved father, whose memory I know she always cherished.
Judy was always mindful of the suffering her father had endured when he had arrived in Singapore in the War, just in time to be
captured and confined in Changi Jail before being sent to work as a slave on the Death Railway in Burma. I know that Judy felt
his later health problems stemmed from those terrible times and I feel sure she would want us all to spare a moment, on this day,
to commemorate his sacrifice and suffering.
Judy grew up in Beeston Fields Drive, Nottingham. In her early years, she shared a governess with her life-long friend, Shanne.
Judy had fond memories of those times and the days spent playing with her friend in the rural setting of Beeston Fields.
In her teens, Judy was an active and impressive sportswoman, playing county-level tennis for Nottinghamshire.
Later, Mike would play tennis with his wife and he told me, with some satisfaction, that he had even been known to beat her.
However, further research revealed that this only happened after Judy had been somewhat fatigued by having already defeated
a number of other more serious contenders on the day and that the number of times could actually be counted on the thumbs of one hand.
(And it must occurred to Mike that she had, in fact, let him win one because she loved him so much).
After leaving school, Judy went to London, training to become a nurse at St Thomas' Hospital, on the other side of the Thames
from the Palace of Westminster. Later, when her poor father was suffering from cancer, she returned to Nottingham to put her
caring nature and skills to use and nurse him.
After this, Judy got a job with the famous, Nottingham pharmaceutical company, Boots. She just was about to go off to her beloved Scotland,
to take up a more senior managerial post with Boots when a tall, dark gentleman intervened and upset it all - by proposing marriage. Judy
first met the man she was to marry when he was only three years old and she was only one. She went from being his little pal, to being his
friend, to being his girlfriend, before becoming his wife. I always thought that Judy's email address which was for both Mike and Judy said it all
“mike-judymunt at xxx.co.uk” – they were a single, very real unit.
We've all heard Judy and Mike calling each other “Darling” in public.
She was the love of his life and he was hers.
Judy and her young man had enjoyed dancing and attended many Young Conservative dances after the Second World.
Judy and Mike went on to marry and have three children, Janne, Fiona and Alastair, with Judy becoming a full-time mum,
devoting herself to her children's welfare and upbringing.
The family accompanied Mike on an RAF posting to Singapore and Judy enjoyed a tropical life-style with her family;
Mike teaching the children to swim and Judy coaching them in tennis. Judy's beloved son, Alastair took after his
mother and excelled at tennis, cricket and rowing.
When they moved here, to Willersey in 1964, Judy took a job caring for Colonel Lord and his wife. Judy took this job because
it meant she could always be around, when she needed to be, for her children.
In talking to Mike and his girls, I get the sense of an idyllic, almost children's story-book-style of family life;
full of fun, adventure and happiness as a consequence of the fun and loving natures of Judy and Mike as parents.
During her children's younger years, Judy kept ‘open-house’ at the end of each school day, playing host to all her son's and daughters' young,
‘latch-key’ friends, welcoming everyone, as Fiona puts it.
Fiona told me that her family have had letters and phone calls from school friends, particularly Anne, Aline and Lucy who remembered,
fondly, her mum's famous Teas (with a capital “T”); coming in from school to the smell of freshly-made flapjacks, caramel shortbread and chocolate cake – and recalling going home to their own mums and saying,
“Why can't we have tea like Mrs Munt's?!”
When their children were in their teens Judy and Mike enjoyed many narrow boat holidays; including the children taking their French
and German pen friends with them when they visited and helping their dad to run “Centenary”“; – a charitable narrow boat.
Judy and Mike built on this, during Mike's school years at Bilton Grange, near Rugby, when they roped in Janne, Fiona and Alastair to help them run
canal-based adventures for the boys. Judy would undertake the duties of First Mate and first aider as well as cooking amazing meals from what
seemed like nothing at all. When they were old enough, Judy's children would crew and operate an additional narrow boat, enabling them to
take an extra boat-full of boys on these adventures. In her long and happy life, Judy and her family were blessed with many other happy holidays and trips.
I have mentioned Judy's love of Scotland and she and Mike, sensibly, capitalised on this by purchasing a holiday property bond that enabled them
to stay in their own Scottish castle for a couple of weeks a year.
Judy enjoyed spending time with friends and family on her family's numerous Pembrokeshire holidays over the course of over fifty years.
She loved cruises and she and Mike sailed the Mediterranean and explored the fjords of Norway together and, on their fortieth anniversary
they cruised around Australia and New Zealand.
When Judy's children left home, she returned to nursing and was in much demand for the Special Clinic and in Orthopaedics.
In Willersey, Judy is well-known as a real force in village life and for her career of service to her community.
Judy was an active member and former Chairman of our village's Mothers' Union and the Women’s institute. It was Judy
who beat me to it in suggesting that the beautiful Mother's Union banner that had been hidden away was restored to
the Sanctuary. Whenever I look at that banner, I shall always think of her.
In the W.I., Judy was famous for her marmalade and jam-making and contributions to the W.I. market – in particular a remarkable creation called Red Dragon Pie.
She provided huge support to the Girl Guide and Brownie movement and was Brown Owl for 25 years, leading her Brownie pack to victory in numerous
competitions, as well as holding the prestigious and senior position of District Commissioner.
She was Chairman of the Parish Council with all the onerous responsibilities of that role.
Judy was a true RAF-wife and gave Mike enormous support in his work with the RAF Benevolent Fund and was passionately
involved in ensuring the preservation of the Vulcan bomber at Wellesbourne Airfield, yet another shared aspect of their long, shared life.
In recent years Judy was active at Signpost, a kind of Citizen's Advice Bureau in Broadway.
As recently as a year ago, Judy was still working as a volunteer driver for the Cotswold Friends – helping those in need
with hospital runs, surgery visits and other essential trips.
On a recent day, after Judy had passed away, Fiona was out walking with a friend of her mum's. Whilst remembering Judy,
the friend mentioned Judy's amazing ability to ‘hold court’ in a room in official meetings, likening it to the ‘flicking on of a switch’.
Judy would go into a different mode altogether, never raising her voice, but getting her point across with quiet authority.
And then she would join Mike again, the switch would flick off and she would go back to being ‘the wife’ again!
Certainly, this rings true of my experiences of the years I've enjoyed working with Judy. In many Parochial Church Council meetings,
other councillors would be holding forth with great enthusiasm and verbosity – particularly Geoff Dear and Penny Burch – and me – and
Judy would sit next to Mike looking thoughtful until my wife, another Judith, said to Judy,
“But let's hear from Judy. What do you think, oh Wise One!”
We would all know that we could count on Judy to dispense a dose of cool, clear, practical, common sense; a gem of wisdom that
would give us cause for thought and steer us to a sensible way forward.
Judy, simply, never gave in. Tini, the leader of our flower arrangers, told me that Judy said about her own
involvement in our Church's flower arranging team, “I'll never give up, you know!”. Her friends have put their
own memorial to Judy in Judy's own window – the north window in the South Transept, where they have placed a beautiful,
fresh spring arrangement that we should gaze upon with Judy in mind.
Judy continued to place great emphasis on children, particularly in introducing them to a faith in Our Lord, Jesus.
She remained the leading light in the Christingle Service and its preparations before each Christmas and, right up
to her final illness, was still going into Willersey School to enlighten the children with ‘Open the Book’, an introduction to the Bible.
It came as no surprise to learn that this most Christian of ladies was a fine godmother. Her godson, David Powell wrote of
how Judy has been a constant presence and thread throughout his life and the subsequent, consequent significance of his Christian faith.
Judy had always taken a keen interest in his musical achievements.
Judy's friends were important to her; she retained longstanding and lifelong friends, including her childhood friend Shanne.
It will have been a great comfort to Judy that she was granted the opportunity to talk to Shanne and so many other, loving friends in her last few days.
Judy was a wonderful grandmother to her 10 grandchildren; always supportive and ‘hands-on’. She would have her grandchildren, four
at a time, for overnight stays, cooking with them and entertaining them with arts and crafts projects.
For Mike and Judy, the terrible accident that robbed them of their beloved son, Alastair, was a cruel tragedy.
Yet despite that devastating blow, there was never the least sign, to the outside world, that it had dented her faith – or Mike's faith.
They just carried on, serving their church, their community and family with sadder, brave smiles.
On the morning Judy died, her daughter. Fiona, said, “She's with my brother now.”
For me, it was a significant, little miracle, evidence of God working in his remarkable and occasionally clear
and interventionist way when He caused Bishop Rachel, our Bishop of Gloucester, to be here, in this Parish,
for some of the last hours that Judy was with us and actually conscious.
Bishop Rachel knew and respected Judy and was here chairing the selection panel for our next Vicar and,
before I could ask her, she offered, at the end of the day, to visit Judy's home to pray with Judy and her family.
What an amazing indication of the value that God put in His servant Judy, that he should make sure that this powerful,
Christian and Churchwoman should have her Diocesan Bishop attend to her and be there with her to lead her in prayer
and help her to make her peace in her last, conscious hours.
I say again; I am honoured to call myself a friend of this remarkable lady.
As my respected & valued and very close co-Churchwarden, Judy always supported me.
She stood shoulder to shoulder with me, a formidable ally in our hard-fought battle over the glebe
land, on behalf of the village, against the Diocese and that same Bishop who ministered to her at the end.
She lent the greatest credibility to our fight. Whenever I questioned whether I was fighting too hard
or aggressively or doing the right thing, it was a constant reassurance to have her approval and support;
confirmation that what we were engaged in, on behalf of her beloved village was right, given how much I valued and respected her views.
In writing this eulogy, I have used that word numerous times. I have not sought to vary this because it sums up the capacity of Judy for love.
How should we remember her?
I am sure that many of you will be like me; I shall always remember the twinkle in her eye and the warmth that washed
over me whenever I was blessed by one of her kind, gentle, beautiful smiles.
For me, Judy was the most inspiring, committed churchwoman and Christian it has been my honour to meet.
Bereavement is made up of many emotions. When you have been with, and loved, and been loved by someone all your life it can feel inexplicable
that they should have left you. Mike and her family might be left wondering how she could do it; how could she leave them?
But, perhaps we should all have known that when her God decided it was time for her to join him in paradise, that she would answer that call.
We should celebrate Judy's life; a life-time of love for Mike and for her family and friends
– but particularly for dear Mike.
A life-time of service – to her country, her community and her beloved church.
A long, truly good life.
A life lived to the full.
Mike was, indeed, the love of Judy's life.
Mike has shared his disappointment with me that Judy was taken from him before they were able to celebrate their diamond jubilee of 60 years of marriage,
even though it was some years away.
But, as I told Mike on the day she died; no one can take away your wonderful, shared years together, and you know that her death has not and will not
bring an end to the love she always had for you. God rest.
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Maurice Andrews 1923 - 2016
MAURICE CHARLES ANDREWS MBE
Maurice was the ninth child of eleven born to George and Mary Andrews (with another adopted) at Wells Gardens, Broadway on June 10th 1923.
His childhood was happy but materially poor and was recorded in his book, ‘A Village Remembered’ which he wrote in the 1970’s.
He was a Cub and Scout and sang in St Michael's Church Choir.
He went to Broadway School under an inspirational Head Teacher, Archibald Bridgeman and left at 14 to become a Grocer's Boy for the Midland Stores before
joining Charles Steward's Building firm as a Clerk. Here he was given the opportunity to attend evening classes in Evesham to gain qualifications.
When WW2 started he joined the LDV or Home Guard before enlisting in the RAF on 1941, aged 18. He wanted to be a pilot but chronic colour blindness prevented this
so he became a ‘Backroom Boy’ dealing with security issues.
In 1942 he was posted to India. Here he served on the staff of South East Asia Command under Lord Louis Mountbatten and was proud to have had a conversation with
him about Broadway. Maurice also attended one of Gandhi's mass rallies and had never seen so many people in one place at the same time. The Indian experience
left an impression on him for the rest of his life and was a considerable eye-opener for a young lad from a small Cotswold village.
He returned to the UK in 1945 and signed on for another year at the Air Ministry where he was promoted to Flight Sergeant. Here he met a WAAF Corporal,
Eira Wyn-Evans, and they were married in 1947 following demob.
His first job on civvy street was as a Production Controller in Luton & then near Swansea where their first child was born. However,
Maurice wanted to return to Broadway and the family set up their first real home in Sandscroft Avenue in 1948, where their second
child was born a few years later.
He got a clerical job with the building firm of W.A.Cox in Evesham and then moved to the office of Gordon Russell's before going
to Arthur Parker's building firm where he became Director and Secretary until 1957.
Maurice became self-employed as an Accountant and Secretary in the late 1950s before setting up two companies, Dunelm Estates and Dunelm Trading.
The latter, an ironmonger's, was with his brother, Harry, in Leamington Road.
Maurice started his Community Service by being elected onto Broadway Parish Council in 1952 and he served on it until 1963. He was also
elected to Evesham Rural District Council in 1955. He served on several committees and was Chairman of the Housing Committee in 1958.
He was also on various charity committees and a School Governor.
He was a keen member of Broadway Cricket Club and rose from Teaboy in 1933 to Chairman in 1960. He negotiated the renting of the cricket
ground before the club eventually bought it. He was also a member of the Football Club.
In 1963 ill-health and a wish for better education opportunities for his children led to a move to Eastbourne which had been a popular family
holiday venue, Here he joined the Dental Estimates Board and investigated dentists who were trying to defraud the NHS.
He continued playing cricket for the DEB and also qualified as an Umpire in the district.
Maurice became a voluntary worker at the Citizen's Advice Bureau in Eastbourne and also joined RAFA and other local societies.
He left the DEB in 1968 and had some part-time jobs until the early 1970s when, with both children starting their own lives, he and Eira returned
to the Cotswolds and finally settled in Willersey.
Now fully retired, he became Clerk of Willersey Parish Council in 1979 that began 33 unbroken years of service as Clerk, Councillor and Chairman.
Just two of the many issues he was involved with were the flooding problems in Willersey and the weight restriction for lorries in the village.
He also set up the Willersey Forum where inhabitants could come to raise queries and discuss matters as well as setting up a welcome booklet
for people moving into the village. He was very proud that he had not missed a meeting until the very end.
Maurice also keenly supported Willersey Footlights and Wednesday Club. He belonged to the British Legion, RAFA and was President of the Evesham
Branch of Burma Star. Along with his wife, Eira, he attended many Remembrance Services including two march-pasts at the Cenotaph.
He continued his connection with CAB by helping to set up the Evesham branch. He was also Village Correspondent for the Evesham Journal.
Maurice, along with Eira, attended many funerals of local people and ex-service personnel – sometimes being virtually the only mourners - as he felt
it so important to recognise the life of each person.
He was greatly influenced by his mother, Mary, to help others as well as the extended family. She had not only raised
a large family and taken in washing to help ends meet but had helped at births around Broadway and lay out those who died
as well as helping other villagers in many other ways. Maurice wanted to help ‘ordinary folk’ and did this in many ways – offering advice,
when sought, and applying for help from organisations were just two of them. All of this in total confidence and much remains unknown.
Maurice also managed to research his family tree back to the C15th and held a lot of information regarding the history of Willersey and Broadway,
giving many talks to local groups.
Due rewards, though not sought after, came in Maurice's later life. He received Maundy money from the Queen in 2003 at Gloucester Cathedral.
Although being on the border of Worcestershire and Gloucestershire had its drawbacks for some Parish Council matters, it did mean that he was
put forward by both Councils and went to two Garden Parties at the Palace! The proudest day, however, came in 2007 when he received the MBE
from Prince Charles and had a brief conversation with him about Lord Mountbatten.
In 2012 ill health forced him to curtail all activities though he maintained his interest in them. He and Eira moved to Mill House Care Home in
Chipping Campden at Christmas 2013 where they were wonderfully cared for until each passed away. They also received excellent care over the years
from their GPs in Mickleton, Broadway and Campden as well as at various local NHS Hospitals.
Maurice was a devoted husband, a wonderful father, a proud grandfather and also proud to come from the Cotswolds but, above all,
he was a good, caring, gentle man.
Christine Dalton (daughter).
From the Cotswold Journal of Friday 9th March 2012
Friends and family turned out in force to ensure a double celebration for Willersey couple Maurice and Eira Andrews was a party to remember as they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary yesterday,
while it was Mrs Andrews' 90th birthday on Friday, February 24th 2012.
Mr and Mrs Andrews decided to hold one big party to mark the two events, and so about 85 people packed into the village hall last Saturday to raise a toast to the couple. Mr Andrews, who is chairman of Willersey
Parish Council, was born and grew up in the Broadway area. He met his wife-to-be after returning to England at the end of the Second World War after serving with the RAF. He ended up being posted to the same
location as Mrs Andrews, who had grown up in London but had just returned from serving with the Women's Airforce (WAF) in Belgium.
They married in Luton before moving back to Broadway in 1947. In 1962 Mr Andrews' work took them to Eastbourne, but they returned to the familiar surrounds of Broadway about six years later and then moved
to Willersey in 1979. They have a son and daughter, David and Christine, who helped them celebrate on Saturday, as well as three grandchildren.
The couple are well-known locally, with Mr Andrews having formerly served on both Broadway Parish and Evesham Rural District Councils. Journal readers will also recognise Mr Andrews as a long term contributor
– it was only at the end of January that he retired as a village correspondent, having covered the Broadway area since as far back as 1959.
Mr Andrews believes the secret of their long-lasting marriage is a little give and take. “I think it's that and also looking to help the community rather than yourselves and your own,” he said.
A Tragic Coincidence
My father, Maurice Andrews, late of Willersey, Gloucestershire, was very interested in family history and amassed considerable records. One of his ancestors of whom he was most proud was his Uncle,
Harry Andrews (1890 – 1917). Harry was born in Willersey and prior to joining up, worked as a farm labourer and also worked with the heavy wagons that took timber to the sawmills.
He served as a Private (12106) in the 5th Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry and joined on 3rd September 1914. He was injured by shrapnel in February 1916 and invalided back to England with
trench feet in June 1916. Harry fought at the Battle of Loos and ‘went out five times under heavy fire to bring in wounded’. At the Battle of Arras he was killed, aged 27, on April 9th 1917 by enemy
rifle fire while advancing on the third enemy trench. It was Easter Monday and the weather was atrocious – rain and hail turning into snow.
Harry was laid to rest in Tilloy British Cemetery near Arras. His nephew and my father's brother, Harry Andrews (who had been named after him as he was born three months after his death) visited the
grave and also did research at the Regimental Museum in Shrewsbury.
I thought that was the whole story but, as happens with family history, another strand to the story appeared. My father only really concentrated on researching the direct line of the family. However
he did have a file of connected family members that he collected on the way and which he meant to look into when he had more time. Sadly, that didn't happen.
I have been carrying on his work and extending out the family tree by recording siblings of the direct line so his file was extremely useful. In it was a sheet from a pamphlet produced by a member of
the Gazey family – Harry's maternal line. Someone obviously did a lot of research and regularly produced these pamphlets to circulate amongst that family but sadly I couldn't find their name on it.
If anyone can put me in touch with this researcher then I would be most grateful.
On this sheet was a record of William Alfred Gazey, Private (52499) 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. He was the son of Alfred John and Elizabeth Gazey who lived in Stratford upon Avon.
The next bit stopped me in my tracks for he was also killed on April 9th 1917 and is also buried at Tilloy! I was then eager to see if there was a connection between them and started trawling through
the Internet records of births, marriages, deaths and censuses. This is what I found:
We need to go back to the 1800s to find George Gazey, born about 1804 in Saintbury, near Willersey. George was a stockman and shepherd who was married twice. He had four children with his first wife,
Mary Gardener, but she sadly died in 1845 from a ‘disease of the brain, seven years certified’. Their second son, William, married Ann Smith and they moved from Saintbury to the Stratford upon Avon area
where he was a farm labourer. They then had a son, Alfred John Gazey, who married Elizabeth Harrington Warren and they are the parents of William Alfred who is George Gazey's Great-grandson.
George's second wife was Harriett Clements and their fifth child, Harriett Gazey, married William Thomas Andrews who were the parents of Harry Andrews. Harry was George's Grandson. I therefore believe
that Harry and William are something like step cousins.
I have no way of knowing how well they knew each other; if they knew they were fighting so close to each other or if the two families even heard the tragic news of each other. Certainly my father didn't
mention it – in fact, he hadn't discovered George and Mary's son, William, at all in his researches. His brother, Harry, also didn't refer to William in any researches he did or when visiting Tilloy Cemetery.
My only caveat is that although I have been over the research several times, it is possible there might be an error but I don't think so.
I am really glad that I have discovered this new evidence, as I will be visiting France on the centenary of the Battle of Arras in April 2017. I had already planned to visit Harry's grave as my father had
wanted to go but didn't get round to it so it is partly in his memory as well. However I can now go and visit both graves and put a cross on both on behalf of all their descendants.
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Freda King 1915 - 2016
A Remarkable Life in Willersey
Freda King, our indomitable grandmother, celebrated her 100th
birthday in August 2015. She lived her entire life in this wonderful village of Willersey not without
hardship, but with much love and laughter too.
Born at Homeleigh,
opposite the Village Hall, during the First World War, she was the 8th
of 11 children born to Tom and Emily Proctor. Their names are Nellie, Rod, Ruby, Jessie,
Florence, Janet, Doreen, Freda, Harry, Edgar and Ena.
At that time Homeleigh was a farm with fields behind (where Hays and Collin Close
now lie) where she worked hard herding cows and delivering milk from an
early age to villagers and to the railway at Willersey Halt by the bridge in
Badsey Lane to be taken to market. It was also home to white ducks who
enjoyed the pond and came back each night. This is something we would love to
One of her earliest memories is the tarmacadam road being
laid through the village and getting stuck in it and playing with friends Joan
Andrews and Lily Kilby on the greens. She attended Willersey School until
she was 14 and had her left hand tied to the desk for most of her school
years. Consequently she was unable to join in many of the activities with
the other children.
She married Pat King in 1939 and was a loving mother to Anne and Josie,
grandmother to Elizabeth, Lucy, Dominic and Christopher and has five
great grand children.
Freda lived happily in the cottage next to the
shop for over 72 years. Barely five feet tall, she was a force of a woman. She
lived through the depression, two world wars, rationing and had seen so
She taught herself to drive, raised a family and became
proficient at weaving on a hand loom (not a mean feat for her size) to
name a few. She was one of those women you would want by your side, loyal and
She casually told of walking through the village to find the
midwife, while in labour, in the middle of the night with her first child Anne on her back
and bombers overhead.
Living through hard times and losing the love of her life Pat,
too soon after he returned from the war gave her a
resilience not to be underestimated. Her longevity is testament to the fact
that she was tough both mentally and physically.
Age however did not dull the sparkle in her eyes and she continued to
support and care for her family and make us laugh. We celebrated
her wonderful years in Willersey, with all her friends joining her
for 100th birthday celebrations on Sunday 23rd August 2015
in Willersey Village Hall.
Freda was the oldest surviving resident who was born and brought up in the village.
She was delighted to have celebrated her 100th birthday last year with all her family and friends.
It was her greatest wish to end her life peacefully in her cottage in Willersey and that wish was granted on the 27th February 2016.
“The life of one we love is never lost .... her influence goes on through all the lives she ever touched.”
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Sir George Pinker 1924 - 2007
Sir George Douglas Pinker, obstetrician and gynaecologist, born December 6th 1924; died April 29th 2007
Sir George Douglas Pinker, who died aged 82, was a kindly, discreet, charming and courte-ous obstetrician who was appointment surgeon-gynaecologist to the Queen. He had no pretensions.
He was trustworthy and a ‘safe pair of hands’ who knew when to call in additional help. He held the post from 1973 to 1990. During this time he delivered the Princess of Wales of her
two sons, and attended at the birth of nine royal babies: Earl of Ulster; Lady Rose Windsor; Lady Davina Windsor; Lord Frederick Windsor; Lady Gabriella Windsor; Peter Phillips;
Zara Phillips; Prince William; and Prince Harry. All of these births took place at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, a significant break with royal tradition as all prior royal births had taken place at a royal residence.
When Diana threw herself down the stairs at Sandringham in January 1982 when three months pregnant with William, he attended, and found that although she was badly bruised, her baby was uninjured.
Pinker had been under pressure from the Princess to induce labour, but insisted: “Birth is a natural process and should be treated as such.” Princess Diana had a difficult labour the following June.
It lasted 16 hours and at one stage Pinker and his medical team considered performing an emergency Caesarean section, but in the event the Princess gave birth naturally to a boy weighing 7 lb 10 oz.
Pinker was appointed in 1973 on the retirement of Sir John Peel, the previous incumbent. He was 48 and the youngest person to be given the post. The Queen had completed her family by then, but a year later
Pinker attended the Duchess of Gloucester, who gave birth to a son, the Earl of Ulster. The baby's arrival took everyone by surprise: at 4pm that afternoon the Duch-ess had been in the House of Lords
watching her husband take the oath as a new peer. By 1am her child had been born.
Two years later he delivered Princess Anne of her son Peter Phillips after a six-hour labour, and looked after the Duchess of Kent when, aged 44, she miscarried at five months. Pinker's prescription for
a normal pregnancy was simple: “Lead as normal a life as possible without indulging in excesses, neither eating for two nor walking two miles a day if you are not used to it.” He was a keen advocate of more
medical research into miscarriage. During moves to-wards more natural births in the 1970s, he argued that “it is very important for mothers to ac-cept modern medical assistance and not to feel guilty if they
need an epidural or a Caesarean.”
In 1964 he and several distinguished colleagues founded the Childbirth Research Centre. Changing its name to Birthright in 1972, it is now Wellbeing of Women. Diana, Princess of Wales, became a patron in 1984.
In 1978 he gave his full backing to the world's first test-tube baby, Louise Brown. On Woman's Hour he said he thought there were no ethical problems and offered his whole-hearted support to the technique, although
he thought it would take years before it became readily available to women.
Pinker was born in Calcutta the second son of Queenie Elizabeth née Dix and Ronald Doug-las Pinker, a horticulturist who worked for Suttons Seeds for 40 years, and headed the bulb and flower department
for 25 years. His older brother Kenneth Hubert was born in Reading on 15th September 1919.
From 1928 aged four, George was educated at The Reading School and from there went to St Mary's hospital medical school, Paddington, qualifying in 1947. As a student in 1946, when the Music Society
put on its first post-war production The Mikado, he sang one of the leading roles in his fine baritone voice.and he is reputed to have turned down an offer from the D'Oyly Carte Opera. Queen Elizabeth, the wife of George VI
attended the performance as patron of both the hospital and the medical school, accompanied by the two young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret.
Following house jobs he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the Far East, where he did much of his specialist training in obstetrics. He was President of the Old Redingensians Association in 1985.
He remained closely attached to St Mary's for the rest of his career. He did house jobs there and later, delivered his private patients, including royalty, in the hospital's Lindo wing. He was consultant
obstetrician and gynaecologist there and at the Samaritan hospital from 1958 to 1990, and also consulted at the Middlesex Hospital for women in Soho, Bolingbroke hos-pital in Battersea, and the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford.
He was appointed to fellowship of three medical royal colleges - Surgeons of Edinburgh 1957, Surgeons of London 1989, and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 1964. He was presi-dent of the last from 1987 to 1990,
and previously served as its honorary treasurer, when he founded the college's charitable arm, the Birth Right (now called Wellbeing of Women). He contributed to many books including Diseases of Women by Ten
Teachers (1964), Obstetrics by Ten Teachers (1964), A Short Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (1967), Preparing for Pregnancy (1990) and Clinical Gynaecological Oncology (1990). He was a past president
of the British Fertility Society and supported the research that led to the birth in 1997 of Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby.
In 1986 Alvada Kooken, a convicted American killer who escaped from mental hospital nurses with a revenge hit list that included Princess Diana's gynaecologist Sir George Pinker, was arrested wandering in a London hotel.
Kooken gave six nurses the slip during a day trip for 17 Broadmoor maximum-security mental hospital patients, including killers and psychopaths.She caught a train to London and evaded capture for more than 24 hours,
although her picture had appeared on the front page of many national dailies and on television. As well as a nationwide hunt, her escape sparked a round-the-clock police bodyguard for Dr. George Pinker. Police said
Kooken's escape forced Pinker, to keep his movements secret and to hire extra bodyguards for his home, office and family.
He was an examiner in obstetrics and gynaecology at several universities. In his retirement, from 1992 to 1995, he was president of the Royal Society of Medicine. He was appointed CVO in 1983 and KCVO in 1990,
when he retired from the royal household.
He loved music and had a huge knowledge of opera. He became assistant concert director of the Reading Symphony Orchestra, and then in 1988 vice-president of the London Choral Society. He was a keen skier,
sailor, gardener and fell-walker.
His married Dorothy Emma Russell, a former nurse in London 0n 31st March 1951. She died in 2003. In his last years George was disabled by Parkinson's disease and partial blindness.
Pinker died in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. A Memorial Service was held in October 2007 at St Marylebone Church, London, attended by the Duchess of Gloucester and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
In August 2008 it was reported that he left nearly £1.5million in his will to his four children, Catherine & Ian (twins), Robert and William. He also requested that eight of his close friends
be treated to a weekend break at the Lygon Arms, a 16th Century hotel in Broadway near his home in Sycamore House, Willersey.
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Miss Mary (Mollie) Biggs 1908 - 1979
Miss Mary Biggs was born in 1908 and finished her education at Somerville College, Oxford.
Somerville is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford and was founded in 1879 as Somerville Hall.
It was one of the first women's colleges in Oxford. The first male students were admitted to the college in 1994. All
Oxford colleges now take both male and female students.
Mary came to Willersey during the Second World War and worked for Mr Harry Ingles on the milk round, picking fruit and doing secretarial work.
Her first Willersey home was Pool Cottage and later she moved to Walnut Cottage. Molly, as she was known to her friends had a quiet, smiling,
gentle manner and was a great friend to the Village. She hand wrote a diary and scrapbook for a national Women's Institute competition
where Willersey came third.
Mary Biggs had a great love of the Village and the community. She was a member of the Parish council and the W.I. and involved herself
with many local charitable activities. She was very concerned that the village greens should not disappear under motor cars and was saddened
at the development of Nind's Farm buildings into private dwellings. She would have preferred them to be used partly
as a local craft centre, but that was not to be.
Mary (Molly) Biggs is remembered lovingly by many. She died in 1979 and her memorial stone is to be found in St Peter's churchyard.
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Murray Davey 1877 - 1930?
Opera singer Murray studied in Paris under Ernest Masson and Jean de Reszke. He made his debut as a bass at the Paris Grand Opéra in
1905 as Hermit in “Freischütz”
and sang the part of Hamlet in 1908. In 1907 he made a guest appearance at the Opéra Monte-Carlo as Raimondo in
“Lucia di Lammermoor”. In 1909 he reached London Covent Garden, where he was stayed until 1914.
In 1909 he sang the part of Abimelech in “Samson et Dalila” and in 1914 he appeared as Titurel in “Parsifal” which he
repeated in 1925 at the same opera house. In 1912 he appeared as guest in a Sunday Night Concert at the Metropolitan
Opera in New York. In 1922 he made guest appearances at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. He was still appearing up to the beginning of
the 1940's. His repertoire included Masetto in “Don of Giovanni” and Boris Godunov & the Arkel in “Pelléas et Mélisande”.
In 1907, the Arts and Crafts architect, A.N. Prentice exhibited a design at the Royal Academy for a proposed house at Willersey
that was intended to be built on the site of the present Willersey House, on Campden Lane about halfway up the Cotswold escarpment.
The house that was finally completed in 1912 for the opera singer, Murray Davey,
was not to these designs, although it is in a similar Cotswold style. There is a formal approach from the country lane to a large built-up forecourt,
which faces the drive, with the service wing running forward to the left. At the rear the ballroom wing helps enclose
a small west-facing loggia which takes advantage of the view. Formal gardens are situated beyond the ballroom wing, and adjacent to these
is a long lawn terminated by a gazebo.
Willersey House: the house as planned.
Willersey House: the house as built in 1912. Image: © Michael Hill & Nicholas Kingsley
The building was an old farmhouse from the village (Top Farm) re-built and enlarged on a new site. Examination of the fabric shows
that a great deal of old stonework has indeed been re-used, including architectural features such as mullioned windows and doorways. The salvaged
local gables with small single-light windows have been correctly re-set above the main mullioned windows.
Despite its incorporation of so much old material, the house was in reality not a copy of an old building but was built to a revised design by Prentice.
The structural walls are all brick and only the outer facing is stone, while the roof structure is entirely from 1912.
Internally, the flavour of the main ballroom – to the rear of the house
– is Wrenaissance, a style that was a particular favourite of Prentice, especially in his interior design work on liners of the Orient Line.
Elsewhere, there is a bolection-moulded fireplace in a more sober drawing room, and a well-crafted oak staircase in a gabled turret.
There is much generous detailing. The house was thought to lack a suitably
imposing hall or main staircase, something which was remedied during extensive improvements in 1994-5 by Peter Yiangou for Mr & Mrs George Hacker.
These included the creation of a two-storey entrance hall and a more impressive staircase, giving the house the features that one would have
expected of Prentice's original work.
Built for the opera singer Murray Davey it was sold about 1922 to Richard Alleyne Arkwright (1884-1965) and then to his son, Peter Arkwright OBE (1913-87).
After Peter Arkwight's death it was sold to Mr & Mrs George Hacker, and in 2002 to Mr J.Bloor.
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Harry Sadler 1900 - 1918
Harry Sadler moved to Badsey from Willersey in about January 1917. He was a Private in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and his name is recorded on the war memorial
in St James' Church, Badsey where he is buried in the churchyard.
Harry Sadler was born at Willersey, the second of four children of George and Jane Sadler. He had an older brother, Frank,
and two younger sisters, Florence Daisy and Ivy Blanche. Harry's father, George, died in 1906 and Jane married again in 1908, to widower James Jordan who had two sons.
At the time of the 1911 census, James and Jane were living in Willersey with James's two sons and Jane's four children.
By January 1917, the family had moved to Badsey, when the youngest in the family, Ivy, enrolled at Badsey Council School. The family lived at 8 Bowers Hill.
Although only 17, Harry Sadler enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment sometime in 1917. From November 1917 onwards, several reports appeared in the
Parish Magazine about Harry's war wounds. He was severely wounded by shrapnel in the left thigh and in both feet in about October 1917. One large toe was amputated
and it was thought he would lose a foot. He was sent to Netley Hospital and then to Romsey and discharged from the army on 3rd July 1918 because
of his wounds. He died just three months later as a result of pneumonia following influenza at Northumberland War Hospital, Gosforth, aged only 18. He is buried in
Badsey Churchyard. Local members of the Volunteer Training Corps formed a bearer-party but, in accordance with the wishes of Private Sadler's mother who wanted the funeral to be as
quiet as circumstances would allow. There were no volleys and no “Last Post” was played. The choir attended and sang a psalm and hymn in church and another hymn at the
graveside and the organist played the Death March. Six months later, the military authorities erected a wooden cross over his grave. Even though he spent most
of his life in Willersey, Harry is not recorded there.
1918 was a sad year for the Sadler family: three Sadler brothers each lost a son. Arthur Sadler (son of Arthur), aged 23, died on 22
nd March 1918;
Ernest Charles Sadler (son of Charles), aged 19, died on 13th April 1918; and Harry (son of George) died on 17th October 1918. In 1916, Thomas Sadler (son of William),
aged 22, died on 30th July at the Battle of the Somme. The three cousins, Arthur, Ernest Charles and Thomas, are commemorated on Willersey War Memorial.
Jane Jordan's other son, Frank, also suffered injuries during the Great War. Shortly before his brother's death, he was
wounded in the arm and head on 6th October 1918, but was progressing favourably at a hospital in Bristol. Frank continued to live
in the Vale of Evesham until his death in 1970. James and Jane Jordan continued to live at 8 Bowers Hill until at least 1931.
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Hannah Elizabeth Smith 1838 - 1901
Lula Condie begins. “My grandmother, Hannah Elizabeth Smith, was born on the 22nd June 1838 in Willersey, a farming village at the foot of the Cotswold Hills. Willersey Parish records show that
she was christened on the 28th June 1836. She was the youngest daughter of Samuel Smith and Elizabeth Baldwin Smith and had two older brothers and four older sisters.
The Smiths were a poor hardworking people. Some members of the family owned their own land while others worked on the land or in the homes of their landlords. When Hannah was about
three years of age her mother died. A few years later her father married Susannah Rolls who was twenty-eight years younger than Samuel and only fifteen years older than Hannah.
This stepmother was cruel to Hannah and would not allow her to go to school. She was determined that she was going to learn to read and write. Somehow she obtained some pencils
and hid them in her bed. One day while she was out playing her stepmother found them and broke them into pieces.
My grandmother was tall and slender. Her dark hair may have curled if given a chance. Pictures show her hair done in the style of the day, parted in the middle and drawn lightly back on each
side of her pleasant but serious face into a neat little bun in back. While Hannah was young she was sent out to service. It is believed she did dressmaking while she worked in a Mrs. Boswell's Shop.
We know that her sister Sarah did dressmaking and Hannah was an expert seamstress. Caroline Boswell was a good friend to Hannah. Hannah Smith belonged to the Church of England until she was converted
to Mormonism. On the 30th November 1862 she was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by Thomas Carter. As far as we know she was the only member of her family to
join the Church or come to America.
In 1863, when about twenty-four years of age, she left her father, brothers and sisters in England and sailed for America with Captain Eats Company on the ship Amazon. The voyage took 47 days.
They landed at Castle Garden, New York on July 18th 1863. The church Chronology published in 1899, gives this account. “Thursday June 11th 1863. The packet ship Amazon sailed from London,
England with 882 or 895 saints aboard under the direction of William Bramwell on July 18th 1863.” This may well be the company Hannah Smith came to America with.
“It seems that Grandma always had sewing to do. A friend Martha Houslay, who came to America on the same ship, told how Hannah drew the attention of others on board because she was alone
and while sitting on the deck was always doing fine handwork. During the voyage she made a long christening dress of fine eyelet embroidery in which all her children were blessed.
All of daughter Annie's children, grandchildren and most of her great-grandchildren have been named and blessed in this dress. According to Mormon Church History, immigrants in 1863
came by rail to Florence, Nebraska where wagon trains were made up for the journey to Utah. Hannah crossed the plains with Captain Horton D. Haight's church train and it is possible
she walked much of the way.” Hannah's name does not appear in the Mormon Overland Pioneer database.
The Horton Haight company left Florence, Nebraska August 8-9th 1863 and arrived in Salt Lake Valley October 4th 1863. “Besides being lonely, Hannah was sick with Mountain Fever. Hannah Smith
and John London were good friends while they lived in England. John had come to Utah a year earlier, so soon after Hannah arrived she went to live in Echo, Utah, where John was helping to
build the railroad. Plans were soon made for them to marry. John did not have a suitable pair of pants for the wedding so Grandma sat up at night and made him a pair, doing all the sewing
by hand and by candlelight. On November 8th 1863 at Coalville, Utah, John London, age twenty-three and Hannah Elizabeth Smith, age twenty-five were married. The ceremony was performed by Edwin Wilde.
Later on the marriage was solemnized on December 12th 1878 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. They lived in Echo after they were married and while John worked on the railroad, Hannah
helped to earn a living by doing laundry for the stage drivers. The men would leave the laundry enroute to Salt Lake City and she would have it ready for them to pick up on their return trip East.”
Hannah also took in sewing and made men's suits as well as women's dresses and coats as well as sewing for her own eight children. Lula continues, “Hannah and her husband lived in Echo about four years
and while there a son and daughter were born to them. About 1867 they moved to a little settlement on the Lost Creek later known as Croydon. There they had a small farm and home of their own.”
My mother tells of the first home she remembers, “the house was built of logs, one room with a dirt roof, a fireplace at one end and a cook stove at the other. The floor of wide pine boards was very pretty
and well scrubbed.” The walls were whitewashed and when the rain came the mud and water ran down the walls. Their homemade beds consisted of four posts with ropes laced through the sides and head boards to
serve as springs. Their mattress was a good strong tick tilled with straw. It was refilled with clean straw each year after the grain was threshed. Sometime later another log room was built about eight
feet from the rest of the house. This room served as a bedroom.
My Mother said when she was a little girl she had a homemade candle to light her way to bed and often the wind would blow her candle out and she had to return to the kitchen for another light.
Daughter Alice remembered, “Many times I have helped my mother make candles. We had a small mould and I would thread the wick in and tie it at the bottom. Then mother would pour in the melted
mutton tallow.” Besides other cooking that was done on her wood burning stove, she made bread for her family of ten. Washing was done in a wooden tub with the aid of a washboard. Water for all
purposes had to be carried in buckets from a neighbourhood spring or some saved in a rain barrel. Milk, butter and other foods were kept in an underground cellar. Milk was set outside in pans
and when the cream set it was skimmed. One day the cow got loose and almost fell through the dirt roof of the cellar and dirt fell into the milk and other provisions kept there. Wood was hauled
from nearby canyons. They had no matches and when the fire went out, one of the children was sent with a bucket to the neighbours for hot coals to start the fire again. Hannah adorned her home
with beautiful knitted lace, patchwork quilts, knitted socks and stockings, scarves and gloves. Her daughter said, “She did not have anyone to teach her to knit but learned how by watching others.”
Because she was such an exceptional seamstress, she was always called upon to make burial clothes for those who died in Croydon. Grandfather made the coffin and grandmother lined it.
My Mother told me how she watched her as she puffed the silk abound the sides and made a pillow for the mattress. If it was for a child she would add a bit of lace and ribbon. There
were no doctors in Croydon in the early days so when one of the family was ill, Hannah cared for them as best she could and perhaps called the midwife or one of the townspeople who
had had experience caring for the sick.
In 1878 when the dread disease diphtheria spread through the town, one year old Mary Louisa contracted it. Kind neighbours came to help but there was no antitoxin to give her and she died.
This was the first death in her family. A year later while Hannah was in bed following the birth of her youngest son, another son George was bitten by a rattlesnake. Daughter Alice
remembered him coming to the door of his mother’s room where she was in bed with her new baby and telling her he had been bitten. They made him a bed on the floor and buried his leg
in black mud obtained from a ditch bank. George became very ill. All known remedies were used including whiskey which John got from a friend in Echo, but when the poison reached his
abdomen Hannah thought he would surely die. Lula's story continues, “Minutes of the Croydon Ward Relief Society records this, ‘July 7th 1879, all adjourned to the home of Hannah whose
son had been bitten by a rattlesnake and wished to be administered to. President Helen Thackeray administered the oil and Mary Hopkin the blessing.’ The prayers of these sisters were
answered and her son recovered.
Grandma loved flowers and had a large flower garden beneath her bedroom window and geraniums always bloomed in her kitchen window. One of the ladies who lived in town used to lean over
the white picket fence and point out the pansies of her garden that resembled the faces of some of the townspeople. Many of the flowers grew from seeds sent to her by a nephew, Harry
Andrews who lived in England. Next to the home the most important building in town was the schoolhouse. It was a log building with a dirt roof. The schoolroom was perhaps eighteen by
thirty feet. This was the meeting house and recreation hall as well as schoolroom. Desks and benches were made of split logs. Slates were used to write on. In spite of the fact that Grandma
had no formal education she learned to read and write. She could quickly find passages in the Bible for her sons George and Alfred. She attended night school where she joined in the
spelling bees and would stand up with the best of them. The social life of the town consisted of spelling bees, quilting bees and rag bees. Square dances were held in the schoolhouse
and musicians and friends came from Henefer and other nearby towns.
When the Croydon Ward Relief Society was organized on October 14th 1875 Hannah was appointed secretary and treasurer of the organization and also served as one of the quilt supervisors.
She held the office of treasurer until the time of her death. While she was treasurer she had her husband build a wheat bin in their back yard. Hannah was responsible for gathering and
storing wheat as was the custom in the relief society. After her death my mother became the second treasurer of the Relief Society of the Croydon Ward. The wheat they stored was sold to
the government at the time of World War I. Eliza R. Snow organized the L.D.S. Primary Association on October 28th 1879 and Hannah Elizabeth London was chosen first counsellor to the
president Elizabeth Blackwell. Because she lived near the Church Grandma often served Sunday dinner at her home for visiting Church Officials. About ten years after Hannah left England
her father died and she never saw any of her brothers and sisters again but she corresponded with members of her family until her death. Grandma longed to see her old home again. Her
nephew tried to get a picture of the old home to send to her but she never received one. Hannah was sick all summer before she died at the age of 63 on October 3rd 1901 in the home she
had made so many years before. She was survived by her oldest sister Ann, her husband and eight sons and daughters. In the following letter we learn a little bit about her family home
in Willersey, England. In a letter dated September 26th 1881, Charles Smith told his sister that he had been to Willersey and found the folks there busy getting in the crops and the harvest was good.
He continues, “Sister Sarah had seven or eight children at home and had raised twelve. They are still living in the old cottage where we were reared and where our father lived about fifty-five years.
They are all little farmers at Willersey.” He tells how neat and clean his sister Ann keeps her home and children. Her brother goes on to say, “Dear Aunt, I must tell you that the old home is still
standing and we have been living in it until Mother's death on December 2nd 1980 for nearly twenty years and the little flower beds are still there beneath the window.”
The information for this next story came from Lula Condie and a great grandchild as well as letters from Hannah's brother Charles Smith in England.
Dear Sister we have had a fortune left us from Sarah Robbins of Willersey. The amount coming to us on our mother’s side was £6 which when shared would be one pound each. Can you tell me the
best way to send your share? Could you do with it in stamps or can we send a post office order. If you will kindly tell me I will try to send it to you when I know the best way to send. I had
a great deal of writing and trouble about the matter, We were determined to know the right of it so we got the will of Late William Robbins of Tredington by whom the money was left in the first place.
It was left to Sarah Robbins for her life and at her death it was to be divided amongst the survivors. And our mother being dead her share came to her children and this is the same of which they have
all had their share but you and when I know the best way to send you shall have your share so on receipt of this you will please write and say the best way to send and oblige your everloving Brother.
And if you can 1 should very much like you to write to your sisters. Mary's address is Mr. Richard Dunsbee Over End Street W.B. Myrias is the same as before and those at Willersey. So I now conclude
with best wishes and our kindest love to you all from all and believe me to be your ever loving Brother C. Smith.
February 9th 1887 Dear Brother, I dare say you think rude for a long while before I acknowledge the receipt of the post office order you sent me but I have been very unwell all Christmas.
I have not felt inclined to write or anything else much for a month or 5 weeks. I am thankful to say that I am very much better now than I was. I had a touch of bronchitis and very bad
cough that is much better now. I am not quite right yet. I will say now that I received the order all right and safe for which I thank you. Also I was pleased to hear that you was all
well then and hope this will find you still the same. I am thankful to say that all our families are all pretty well just now. We have had a very sharp winter this time with a great deal
of snow and very sharp frosts and lasted on us a long time. This has been rather an old fashioned winter with us to what we have had for some years. It has taken many people off this winter.
It has been very hard times with a great many poor people which have not had sufficient food and fire to warm and comfort them. Trade has been very bad and work very scarce so that many had
to fare vary hard indeed. We hope there will be a stir in trade. I hope this Jubilee year will be more prosperous. I have doubt in many instances but what it will be very much better
in many branches of business. Well I hope that it will be and prove to be a blessing to many who are now suffering for want and that are destitute of the common necessaries of the life may they
all be comforted and blest with plenty. And then they will have great cause to remember the Jubilee year of (Queen Victoria)as long as they live.
Dear Brotherr I received a letter from Willersey this morning and am very thankful to say that they are all very much better than they as been for a long time. Sarah and unwell for a long time
she has had a very bad turn of bronchitis. Samuel her husband has been very laid up all last summer. He lost nearly all the use of one side so that he has not been able to do anything for a
long time not it is not supposed that he will ever be able to work anymore. So we may all know that it has been very bad for them. I have sent them a little at times what I could afford.
I sent them a nice piece of beef at Christmas and a few other things for which the was very thankful for and also Sister Ann had a very bad misfortune and broke her arm. I do not know
whether you ever heard of it or not. But it was very bad for a long time but it is now vary much better and she can begin to use it a little but it will never be rite again for she is
getting on in years now..She will be 66 on March 1st next so she is now going down the hill of life vary fast. The way we are all going. Dear Sister Sarah and Ann wished me very much
when I wrote to you again to ask you to send your portrait if you possibly could do so. They would so very much like to have one and I for my part should very much like to have one if
it was not too much trouble and expense for you to get them. I think they would be prized by all of us if we could get them but I must leave the matter with you but hopes you will try
and get them. I was pleased to hear that you liked the knives and forks I sent. But you said that the children would much rather have had white handles. I think those were very good handles
and vary durable ones to but of course if you should send for any more why then you can have them then. A a good set of white handled forks would be more expensive than those were. I leave
all with you until I hear from you again - and draw this scribble to a close. And all join in love to you all - from your ever loving Brother and Sister Charles and Eliza Smith West Bromwich
February 16th 1892.
Dear Aunt, It is a most painful duty I have to perform to impart to you news of a melancholy nature. I sincerely wish the news was of a more cheering description. (this being my first time
of writing you since you left our Cottage many years ago). I am aware my Father has kept up a correspondence with you uphill recently the date of his last letter I do not know. But that
you will not receive any more from him I can say unless you hold communication with the spirit world. He has perhaps informed you that he has suffered for many years with bronchitis and
asthma, On the 24th he was laid by with an attack of bronchitis. His illness was of a very short duration as he was only lying ill from Monday to Friday. Which you can imagine was very short
notice for us. When I say that we had no idea that he would be taken from amongst us so soon. He had certainly been weakening for a long time, but he still continued to follow his employment,
being at work on the Saturday previous to taking his bed on the Monday. His attack was very acute he was only partly conscious nearly the whole of his illness. His mind wandering on all kinds
of subjects, but he gradually sank weaker and weaker until he ultimately passed peacefully away with¬out even a struggle. The Funeral took place on Tuesday 2nd at the West Bromwich Cemetery,
in the presence of large assembly of our people and friends. Upwards of 100 girls and others attended service in the Cemetery chapel. Finishing the service with singing a hymn, “Safe in the
Arms of Jesus.” There was present at the funeral His sister Mary Dunsbee, husband and daughter, two representatives from Willersey, Andrew and Ingles, Uncle Henry Beesley, and cousin Eliza
from Smetherick, Sister Mary Ann and husband, Brother Harry and wife, Brother Charley, and myself. He was carried to his last resting place by six of the work people and every¬thing passed
off very satisfactory. It is a very heavy blow for especially my mother to bear, under her afflicted circumstances but I am pleased to say she bears it with fortitude. So I think she is improving
very slowly, but not sufficient to move about without her crutches. But I hope she may soon be able to dispose of her sticks. The other members of our family are all at present fairly well. We have
just received a letter from Brisbane Australia from brother George. They not knowing then of prior news Father's death, but the letter I have written would cross on the way. They will be surely be
cut up when they get the news. I hope things in general over your country are in a prosperous state, and that this will find you all well and enjoying some of the good fruits of this life. I must
conclude this with
Love from all to all.
Yours Affectionately, Tom Smith (Enclosed is card).
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As Thou art so was I. As I am so shalt Thou be.