From The Parish Registers At St. Martin's Desford

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Church Of England Funerals

Weddings 2018

Wedding 28th July Louise Elizabeth Marsden and Ross David Adcock


Steve Price

  •          As far as uncles go he was the best
  •          He always had a joke to tell
  •          A really nice kind man
  •          He had a real zest for life
  •          A great friend whose advice I always valued
  •          He truly lived, laughed and loved.

These were a few of the sentiments expressed following the death of Steve Price, who died aged 68 following a short illness. The church was full to capacity for his funeral service on 16th October conducted by The Rector, The Rev Tom Ringland.

At the time of his birth in Bosworth Park Infirmary (now Bosworth Hall), Steve’s parents May and Dick were living in High Street in the building which eventually became Hutt’s ironmongery shop.

Very much what locals call “Old Desford,” Steve was baptised in St Martin’s Church and became a choirboy there. His mum and dad were married in St Martin’s, had their funerals there and four of his great grandparents are buried in the churchyard.

Originally trained as a chef at Leicester’s Central Institute College, Steve began full-time work at The Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall, a top London club for senior officers of the British Armed Forces. After he returned to Leicestershire his career went on to encompass the hospital, industrial, hospitality and university catering industries. He served a term as secretary of the East Midlands Industrial Catering Association and travelled with colleagues to Harvard University in America to study the catering operation there. At one time he was an area manager overseeing numerous pubs, restaurants and hotels throughout the Midlands and at retirement he was Head of Catering, Conferencing and Student Accommodation at Nottingham Trent University.

It was in Desford that Steve met Ina, his wife of 48 years. They went on to have a son, Trevor, who delivered a humorous and moving tribute to his father at the service, and daughter, Carla, plus six grandchildren: Megan, Georgia, Charlie, Maggie, Milo and Will now aged between 24 and 2. Then last year Ivy their great granddaughter arrived to Megan and her partner Jay. Over the years, grandchildren staying or holidaying with Steve and Ina was a common occurrence where Grandad turned every meal into a work of art.

It was said during the service that the term “Family Man” could have been coined for Steve. He adored his close and wider family and would do anything for them. He was the eldest of three children and his sisters Wendy and Pat were very close to their brother. With their partners they enjoyed lots of nights out, gatherings at each others’ homes and holidays together.

Ina’s family, originally from Scotland, also lived locally and the two sides of their families became very much entwined over the years. Cousins, nieces and nephews all mingled happily at Steve’s legendary barbecues and parties. He was regarded by all of them s a wonderful and generous host.

A keen boy scout in his youth as a member of the 94th Leicester Desford Scouts right up until adulthood, he was happy to help out as volunteer chef at a cub camp and fundraising scout barbecue.

Steve’s creative personality showed in some of his many interests over the years. He completed a course in dry stone walling and loved garden design. Photography was another hobby that he shared with his sister Wendy as members of the local U3A Photographic Club. He also had a wide range of DIY skills. His daughter Carla said that if you were ever stranded on a desert island forget Bear Grylls, her Dad was the one you’d need!

He could catch, kill, skin, clean and cook rabbits, build shelters in woodland out of pretty much anything and once even knitted a hammock-shaped shoe rack for a tent out of string. His DIY skills came in handy when for several years after retirement he and his youngest sister Pat bought and renovated old houses. Many family and friends also benefited from his freely given decorating and tiling ability over the years.

Other interests throughout his lifetime included badminton (he and Ina were founder members of Desford Badminton Club), horse riding, sailing (he had his Royal Yachting Association qualification), windsurfing, snooker, woodwork, table tennis, reading historical novels and his much beloved golf for the last 15 years.

The congregation heard that Steve was a thoughtful, spiritual and caring man with a great love of nature and the countryside. He completed the challenging 200 mile Coast to Coast Walk across the north of England in 10 days for charity and spent many happy hours teaching his grandchildren about plants, birds and animals.

Although Steve lived virtually all his life in Desford, he loved to travel. He and Ina were fortunate enough to visit dozens of countries worldwide during their life together, one of the most recent trips being to South Africa where he fulfilled a long-held wish to go on safari.

He would have been the first to say that he had enjoyed a very full, active, happy and contented 68 years and general good health until very recently. His popularity and standing as a friend, colleague and much loved family member was evidenced by the fact that there were people at the service from every decade and aspect of his life.

Almost £1000 was donated to Cancer Research UK in memory of Steve from those attending the service.



Tom Kirkman, a lifelong farmer, passed away at his home on 18th October 2018 aged 86 years.

He was born on 29th October 1931 in the Fielding Johnson Hospital to Tom and Marianne Kirkman - and with his younger sister Jill was brought up in a close supportive relationship at Hoefields Farm, Thurlaston where farming was very much the centre of their lives. A bright boy, he was to prove able at arithmetic and showed plenty of initiative though he only began his formal education aged 7, when the post lady told the authorities of him!

Tom and Jill used to walk to school in Thurlaston across the fields – and always in a hurry to return to the farm to help with milking, Tom would tell his sister there were robbers in the woods and that they should run all the way!

When he was 15, their mother suffered a stroke and died – and after enduring the harsh winter of 1946-47 the family moved to Desford.

He later attended Clarkes College – the business school, from where it’s told he’d jump from the school window to get back home to help with the farm work.

Much of the character, commitment and deep understanding he showed in his life was evident from these early days. Whether it was supporting his father with the milking or being entrusted as the rhythm and pace setter for the hoeing, he honed his skills during these teenaged years – although he had something of a setback when aged 18 he had a bout of rheumatic fever that lasted some 6 months.

During the 1960’s, Tom sold his milk cows and concentrated on buying sheep and greater numbers of store cattle. This brought the need for more and more grassland and he rented lots of grass-keep all over Leicestershire. His nephew John recalls: “We went to fetch some sheep back from Tilton on the Hill – and Uncle Tom had bought a three deck livestock trailer, fastened to a four wheel trailer and loaded it with sheep. When loaded it had a 15 degree tilt to it, so he threw a waggon rope over it three or four times and off he went at full speed, back to Desford … how times have changed!”

During this time Tom could cover 100 miles in a night with his shepherding .

Even into the 1970’s Tom used to run the cattle through the roads of Desford along the main road up to Brascote  - about 2½ miles – something unthinkable today.

He was always looking to spread his risk, and so at times there have been hens, geese, pigs – and a potato round in the village.

He was a very astute person – who watched and noticed things and then decided whether to speak or to act. He was completely straight and true and would say things as he saw them – but always speaking with integrity and being true to himself. As such, while he was by nature a quiet man, when he spoke it was worth listening to, and over time, many people came and sought his advice. Nephew John writes, ‘he was a man of principle and of his time; he staunchly refused to work or to carry out any business on a Sunday, other than feed to livestock’.

Tom was never happier than at an auction – his idea of a holiday was 2-3 days at the ewe lamb sales at Hawes in Yorkshire or up in Scotland.

He was able to enjoy his farming life right up to his stroke 5 months ago and was belting the sheep this year. He sold his last three fat cattle days before his stroke.

Tom is survived by his wife, Ena, who brought him to church on the old funeral bier for a burial service, prior to interment in a spinney he planted in the Barn Field. He was buried on 29th October -  his 87th birthday.


Funeral of Graham Alsop 27th  July
and his funeral took place on 20 August at Loughborough Crematorium.

Graham was born 12/12/35 in Cambridge – to parents Edna and Walter Alsop. He grew up in the war years and lived with different aunts and relatives in this period. A formative decision was for him to attend Newport Grammar School, travelling by train to Essex, and this was where he developed his love of books and sport.
He served 3 years with the RAF in Holland as his National Service. He then trained as a teacher in Greater London and he met Norma, also a teacher, in 1962. They were married in 1963 in Romford and in the years that followed, their two daughters, Helen and Elizabeth were born. They had 55 very happy married years together and even though he didn’t quite make their anniversary date, he had already arranged for a bouquet of roses to be sent to Norma for the 10th August. They’ve lived in Essex, Nottingham and Kirby Muxloe, but since 1987 have made their home in Desford – where they have made very many friends – numbers of whom filled the crematorium.
Norma asked me to say a very warm thank you to the 90 people who sent cards, and to the many friends who have offered such practical and sustained help in the past couple of years especially. Your love, care and support has meant an immense amount at a very challenging time.

Funeral 28th July Ruth Astle (1947 to 2018) Friday 27th July 2018, St Martin’s Church, Desford

Tribute from Val Watkins

Dear Friends,

Robin, Charlotte, Tom and Duncan, their families, Ruth and Robin’s families.

I first met Ruth in 1971, the first thing I noticed about her was that she was very “DISTINCTIVE”, easily recognised because she was tall for her generation, very individual and because she was tall she had to make her own clothes, she made her own  style of fashion. She was 24 years old and I knew her as Ruth Dickens a DISTINCTIVE surname. I remember the first thing I asked her “are you related at all to Charles Dickens?”. I think the answer was no but Colin will correct me.

We were Health Visitor students at Chiswick Polytechnic, a whole academic year as students – bliss. Ruth and I shared the same tutor Joyce, she looked after our welfare – she gave us good guidance, we kept her busy! Head of Department was Miss Llewellyn a formidable lady, extremely proud of us and kept reminding us, as the tutor in the play, “Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” her “gels” were “crème de la crème”. There were about 50 students in our class. We were an excellent group of girls – we all got on. It was a very happy time in our young lives. We were seconded to the London Borough of Westminster for one day a week, to learn the trade. Ruth and Cathy worked in Bessborough Street Clinic, it covered and amazing geographical area, with a huge social mix ranging from poverty to Royalty. Their patch included Buckingham Palace. The Health Visitors kept a record of a very special baby, the Queens baby. Prince Edward, he was born in 1964. When we were studying at Chiswick Poly, after lecture Ruth and I would go to the Badminton Club. We were a great team (no modesty here) with Ruth at the net the shuttlecock had little chance. If she did miss a shot I scooped it up and bashed it into our opponents’ court. Ruth and I met at weekends. She loved folk clubs, the atmosphere and the music, so much so tha she learnt to play the guitar. Ruth rented a charming, tiny cottage on an island in the River Thames. It was difficult to get to. No car access and you had to walk over a rickety bridge to get to the cottage. Once there Ruth had prepared and cooked a most delicious meal out of nothing!

Ruth had quite a pedigree for the nursing world. She had always wanted to be a nurse. She trained at Guy’s Hospital in one of London’s most prestigious hospitals. She loved going to the Antiques market in Bermondsey hunting for a bargain. She enjoyed the theatre and often there were free tickets offered to Guy’s nurses.

After she qualified to be a State Registered Nurse she wanted to see the world and she did. She signed up to be the Children’s Nurse on a ship taking British passengers to Australia. The outward journey was vis Cape Town and the return journey via the Panama Canal. When she arrived back in London, she trained as a midwife at Queen Charlottes Hospital in Hammersmith. She loved midwifery and delivering babies in their home. After she qualified to be a Health Visitor she practiced in Edinburgh and later here in Leicestershire, at the Leicester Forest East Practice, and then later at Highfields. Ruth thoroughly enjoyed this challenging Practice in central Leicester. Ruth was a keen observer and she diagnosed 4 children with rickets and she recognised that there was no translation in her Asian community for the word “Post-Natal depression”. Ruth observed medical issues which are only now being discussed and written about.

Once Ruth returned home she met Robin and 3 years later they married in September 1976 and that really was the best news ever. This year they celebrated 41 years of marriage. In those years Charlotte, Tom and Duncan were born, school, university, marriage and to Ruth’s sheer delight 4 beautiful grand children. I am so pleased Ruth and I shared it all. Our uos and downs. That’s life.

Ruth Astle my DISTINCTIVE closest friend, the one with the most DISTINCTIVE handwriting. The first name in my address book.

I will miss your cards and letters Ruth.

I miss you already

Funeral 16th July Alan George Stroud

Alan was born in Whittlesey, as one of seven brothers and two sisters, Alan was a proud member of the Grenadier Guards and performed Trooping of the Colour at Buckingham Palace and it will come as no surprise that Alan was the colour sergeant shouting out instructions! He loved his time serving his country both home and abroad  -  which also took him to help with the peace in Aqaba amongst other duties. A time and place he revisited in his last few weeks.

But at heart Alan was a family man and after a spell in the British Transport Police –where his huge hands famously safely delivered a baby to the delight of onlookers - he joined the Leicestershire Police Force rising to the rank of Sergeant in CID - where he gained the respect of villains and colleagues alike - and latterly put his experience to good use in the Crown Courts before choosing to retire rather than become an International Police Officer to pass on his vast experience. It’s of little surprise that he used to love watching The Sweeney and the boys in the Flying Squad.

However he remained with his family in the UK and turned his hand to his first passion which was building and DIY and there are not many surrounding homes that have not received the benefit of his TLC with patios, walls, garages, fences and extensions all built with camaraderie and scotch as a lasting tribute. When the hurricanes came you could rely on Alan’s fences to be standing straight and true!!

More important was his home and family life and he loved nothing more than having his family around him eating, drinking, laughing and having fun and it is poignant that he was surrounded by his family when he recently passed peacefully away.

So how do the family remember Alan….our Dad……Army man……..Policeman …….Family man……..A Man's man  

Protected the Queen …….Protected the Community ……..Protected all of us

Funeral Bill Fawcett, 6th July William (Bill) Fawcett

To someone who didn’t know Bill it’s quite hard to explain what made him such a special person.  He didn’t really do anything particularly remarkable or unusual in his life.  He worked hard, he tried hard, he stressed at times.  He laughed hard too when the mood took him, giggled until he bent double on occasion. 

Perhaps what makes him exceptional is that so much of what he did wasn’t spectacular or glamorous or attention seeking, but instead was done simply, and thoroughly, and kindly, and well, and he did it because he wanted to help people and although he probably wouldn’t have phrased it like this, it was what he did because he loved us. 

His loyalty was absolute, his friendship once granted, was unconditional.  He was pretty much incapable of lying.  In sickness and in health, he could always be depended upon. He was guided by principle and an unyielding sense of right and wrong, of what was fair and unfair.  He was a rock the rest of us could build upon in an age where that isn’t too common.

He was born in Oxhill, County Durham.  He met my Mother whilst they were both training to become teachers in Lincolnshire in 1970, and they were married a year later. People tend to find their way to teaching through different motivations, some consider it a calling, others a steady career.  Some like the holidays.  For Bill though, he had found his niche in teaching.  He was the kind of teacher we all remember fondly, who taught difficult things well and in a way you understood.  He could laugh at himself, he gave of himself.  He could hand out a good roasting on occasion too, but it didn’t seem to put people off him for long.  He loved the prep-room between lessons, the thick smell of instant coffee, the gossip and the intrigue and the mock-outrage, who said what to whom and when, and what happened next. 

Bill could often be found outside his home in Desford, always happy to pause from whatever he was doing to have a chat with whoever was passing by. Bill was a kind, generous man of simple tastes, who took pleasure in pleasing others, of helping his family, of marking out the football pitch at Sport in Desford, or relaxing with his cats, reminiscing with old friends, or enjoying a pint whilst enduring the Sunderland highlights on Match of the Day.

Funeral - Wynne Louisa Henson – 4th June 2018.

97 people attended St. Martin’s to remember and celebrate the remarkable 106 years of Wynne’s life.

Before the service, as people arrived, a choir of 18 sang a variety of pieces.

At the beginning of the service thinking of the New Life Wynne has now started we began with the hymn ‘Morning has Broken’ about the new life that greets us every morning.

Bruce Gilliver then spoke about Wynne’s life as he always thought of her as his Aunt having known her since he was 11 years old. He said she had a sweet shop en-route to his school and for some reason she became very popular! Cecil, her husband died exactly 21 years ago on 4th June. Wynne attended weekly keep fit classes, appearing in the Leicester Mercury as the oldest person working out regularly. He reminded us of other amusing episodes in her life.

Bruce then went on to read on behalf of Wynne’s son Geoffrey, and her grandsons David and Stuart. Geoff said his Mum at times was a bit of a scatterbrain. One day being late for work in haste put her coat on but forgetting to put her dress on. She was sent back for it!

Wynne was born 12th March 1912 in Duke Street, where her parents were living, and which is still standing today.  Geoff’s father was a professional musician which meant they travelled to various musical venues in the UK. Wynne loved holidays in Europe and as far away as South Africa. She was quite adventurous until her early 100s.

David and Stuart wrote how they loved sleep-overs as breakfasts were fry ups. David also loved visiting her, when at school, for his lunch. Stuart’s lunch time visits were to continue up to the end of her life. David remembers her knitting jumpers. He especially remembers her mobile phone and her texting, which she kept up all her life until very recently. The first text she ever sent him was ‘help’, forgetting she was using predictive texting and meant to say ‘hello’. Occasionally, until way into her100s, Wynne loved looking after his two cats and always asked after them.

Stuart wrote how close he was to his Nan, having lived next door for many years, knowing there was always a jar of sweets waiting for visitors. Like David, he was always welcomed with food. For birthday presents he was given £20 to spend (a lot in those days). He still has a model hover craft which he bought. His memories of his Nan are always happy ones, saying Wynne had a great memory and zest for life. He was very proud of his Nan and what she achieved, especially her role as President in the European Union of Women, and her services to politics, for which she regularly went round posting leaflets through letterboxes.

Bruce was followed by Linda Freestone, who has known Wynne all her life. Wynne was her mother’s best friend. The two families enjoyed holidays in Norfolk. On jaunts she was put in the back of the car with Geoffrey and given crisps and a bottle of Vimto, while Wimple (the name she always called Wynne) and the others enjoyed themselves in the pub. She said Wynne’s hair was always immaculate, and her commitment to keep fit kept her supple and mobile. When Wynne came to Desford she used to tell her how impressed she was that the community gathered her in. She said her daughters and grandchildren show how Wimple was always interested and loved people of all ages.

After Sue read St. Paul’s lovely chapter on love from his letter to the Corinthians, I spoke about her last few years in Desford, saying she was an amazing, lovely lady. At the age of 97 she moved into her bungalow to look after herself. Immediately she had made her way up to the Co-op to buy her favourite Mr. Kipling’s cakes. Finding her looking a bit confused, Sheila asked if she could help and was told she thought she was on the right way to her new home but wasn’t quite sure. Sheila then walked home with her and offered to go and see her again taking a welcome pack. On that visit we told her about Coffee and Chat and offered to take her with us, thus began our friendship with Wynne. This led to many church events which she loved joining in, especially if there was food with it. Even in The Ashton at Easter, when we gave her a plant in a black metal container with a rabbit at the back. ‘Ooh’ Wynne said ‘is it a chocolate rabbit?’ She was disappointed it wasn’t! We took her some chocolate on our next visit. Even at over 100 years old Wynne still had a bond with children and loved our two small granddaughters: although she loved all ‘her boys,’ there were no girls. She always asked ‘how are my little girls’ and was delighted when they visited her.

The service concluded with Wynne’s favourite hymn ‘All things Bright and Beautiful’. For her 105th birthday Carl had written 2 extra verses. Geoff thought it would be nice to add them but they were not really suitable for the occasion, so Carl wrote two new verses:


At age one hundred and six,

A journey to begin,

To meet her God in heaven,

Our dear, beloved Wynne.

So we now sincerely join

Her favourite hymn to sing.

God bless, we shall ne’er forget

Our dear, beloved Wynne.

Peter Folks

Funeral 16th May, Michael Patrick Crawford

Mick - was born in Aylesbury in October 1942 – the eldest son of Paddy and Doll; brother to Nobby and Jane.  Admittedly he was a bit of a handful as a youngster, but in a loveable way.

Both boys followed their father's footsteps into boxing, and Mick was a regular feature in the Buckingham Herald from bouts in numerous competitions. He even boxed at the Royal Albert Hall. He played football and was a lifelong Arsenal supporter. He loved a wide variety of music and saw the Beatles play at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Elvis, Roy Orbison and Little Richard were other favourites along with rap, opera and sad Irish songs.

His first job was in following his father as an apprentice printer at Hunt Barnard's in Aylesbury.

Mick was a very handsome young man and won the heart of a young Irish lady called Maureen McMorrow. They were married in 1963 and went on to have 4 children - Sean, Marcia, Mickey and Susan.

Mick did a lot of DIY ... he was a great collector of tools which eventually led to him extending the shed he had built in the garden, which in turn led to more tools!  He also had a supply of his favourite thing there - red wine. Mick's adventures in DIY are the stuff of legend. He managed to drill through the same gas pipe twice in one day; he also filled the house with dust while trying out his new sanding tool while Maureen was shopping. Returning, she thought the house was on fire - he opened the door in a gas mask with the words, 'don't come in!'

Mick's children describe him as the best Dad ever - with his wisdom, humour, assurance and stories. His laughing eyes and the laugh that went with them have captured the hearts of many and St Martin's was nicely full of family and friends who came to remember him, support the family and commend him to God.

Funeral Garth Surman – 10th April 2018

The funeral was held in St. Martin’s but the memorial was started before gathering in church by the hearse being led into Desford by a vintage tractor. What a spectacular site it was and what a worthy tribute to a local farmer. Garth had never married, but despite this, many of his family attended the service. He was affectionately known to all as “Uncle” and much loved by them all.

Garth was an amazing man. He learnt to fly, along with his brothers. He started a Young Farmers twinning with farmers in France and enjoyed regular trips to France. He was known for loving and caring for his animals on the farm.  He was a good dancer, easy to get on with and was known as a good listener. One of the things that he was remembered for by the family, was the time he was pulled up by the police for driving too slowly; for which he was well known.

Barbara Olive Jarvis

Barbara (nee Marshall) was a farmer’s daughter, born in Cauldwell, Derbyshire.  She had one brother Dennis who died in 1993.  Barbara met her husband Amos at work in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.  They married in 1950 and had two children, Tricia and Graham, both born at Ashby.  Graham had two sons, but the younger son, Alex, sadly died of cancer in 2013.  Barbara’s other grandson, Garry, and his wife, Claire, have two daughters, Olivia-Mai and Sienna-Rose, so Barbara was a great-grandma.

Barbara and Amos moved from Loughborough to Desford in about 1964, where they started to put down roots, living in Newtown Unthank for 3 years and then moving up to Leicester Lane.  They moved to a smaller property in Stewards Court in 1986 after the family had left home.  They celebrated their Golden Wedding with a party for family and friends in 2000.  Amos died of cancer in 2002 following which, Barbara remained in her own home for more than 14 years, with increasing amounts of help.  A fall in the garden in autumn 2011 did no real damage, but badly affected her confidence.   Eventually, both Tricia and Graham did not feel she was safe alone and Barbara was not prepared to accept carers into her own home, Barbara moved to West View Residential Home in Glen Parva in February 2017.  After a few spells in hospital Barbara was moved to Nightingale Nursing Home in Wigston in September 2017 for what was expected to be a few weeks, but became more than 5 months.

Barbara maintained an active social life, mainly revolving around the local church and church centre, Mothers’ Union, WI, History Society, scrabble club etc.  Amos was involved with Desford Scouts for more than 30 years and was a Church Warden for more than 25 years.  Barbara  supported Amos in these roles.

Barbara had a series of part-time jobs over the years and worked at The Stitch in Time in Desford for more than 20 years before it closed down.  Her favourite hobbies used to be knitting, reading, baking, cross-stitch, watching TV, word searches and going out with friends, although sight/mobility problems/confidence restricted these in recent years.

One of the family’s enduring memories of Barbara is her involvement with the Nearly-New Shop which opened in 1980 and closed in 2003.  Barbara was one of the team of 40 people who helped to raise in excess of £35,000 for church funds during that period and family members were often press-ganged into making donations to sell.

Whilst at Nightingale Nursing Home in the final stage of her life, Barbara became known for her singing and would often sing some of the old favourites such as Bye Bye Blackbird, which was played at her funeral.  The nurses sometimes joined in and Barbara and Tricia would sometimes sing hymns together.

Tribute from Tony Stokes:

I would first like to thank Tricia and Graham for asking me to stand here this morning.

Margaret and I have known Barbara since 1971 when we moved into the village and she and Amos were living opposite the college.

i worked with Amos quite a lot over the years as I was Assistant Group Scout Leader to him as Group Scout Leader and also as a fellow Churchwarden.  Working with him was a pleasure, most of the time, but trying to prise tasks out of his grasp wasn’t always easy – Amos liked to be in control.

So my involvement with him was with the Scout headquarters, the church centre and the church …..and the Scout buses (the less said about them the better).

Why do I mention this when I am speaking of Barbara – well Barbara was the epitome of the saying “Behind every great man is a great woman”, a phrase adopted as a slogan for the 1960/70s feminist movement, first having been used in the 1940s; less used in more recent years, as the imagery of women being behind men is open to misinterpretation.

However, it did apply to Barbara – I read a different interpretation of this saying the other day “Behind every great man is a supportive and devoted woman to keep his head on straight” – absolutely true

Barbara wasn’t a person to push forward and soak up Amos’s glory and respect; no, she was a quiet unassuming person, who supported Amos in everything he did.  If you went into church, the church centre or the Scout headquarters, you would find Barbara beavering away doing the many tasks that most organisations expect “someone else” to do.  Making sure the altar flowers were done and the altar linen was clean, she was a great inspiration to others to continue with these tasks.

For many years Barbara looked after the key to the Church Centre – when someone wanted the key they were directed to Stewards Court.  Such was her dedication that when we realised that this task was becoming too much for her it took all the Reverend Richard Sharpe’s powers of persuasion  to relieve her of that responsibility.

Don’t get me wrong, Barbara had opinions.  Get her in conversation and it she was obvious she was an intelligent lady – she just didn’t shout her opinions from the rooftops – I always remember going into the Goulton’s shop –The Stitch inTtime – with Margaret. The place always looked a bit of a shambles really, with shelves up to the ceiling and cupboards full of “stuff” – how could anyone know where anything was!!

Well, when Barbara was serving in there you only had to ask and she would make a bee line for some draw or cupboard or box and there it was – not a packet of 500 buttons, but just as many as you wanted.

Apart from her tasks in the background with Scouts and the church, Barbara was active in many other aspects of village life - Mothers’ Union, WI and Scrabble.  And Barbara liked a good old celebration. I remember in 2000 when Barbara and Amos celebrated their golden wedding anniversary – two very proud people.

Although it was not long after this – in 2002 that Barbara and the village of Desford mourned the loss of Amos to cancer.

It is always sad to see such an active member of the church and village community falter as Barbara did and many of us have witnessed it with our own relatives.

But her faith and her commitment to the church did not falter – even though she was unable to attend church, Margaret and i regularly received a telephone call on a Sunday morning as she had a cheque for the church – her physical giving to the church faltered  but her financial and spiritual commitment certainly did not.

i said earlier that Barbara was the epitome of a great woman behind a great man – she was also the epitome of a great servant to God and Jesus Christ – her faith remained strong and her sense of service did also and we could all take an example from this dedicated servant of the church and the village of Desford.

Barbara Jarvis – you are sadly missed. May God bless you and grant you eternal rest 

Funeral,  Edith Wilkes (5th February  2018)

Edith Wilkes was born in Stafford on 23rd July 1921, the second daughter of Emily & Frank Bate. The family, consisting of Winnie, Edie, Bet, Frank and Gwen, as they were affectionately known, moved to Peckleton. Edie left school at the age of 14 and worked in a factory at Earl Shilton, making stockings, turning and folding them, and she told her children how this would make her fingers sore and her arms bleed.
Edith was a very shy and private girl, but when a newcomer came to live in the village, life changed for her. Joseph was that man. He was mother’s first and only love, her soul mate.  She and Joseph came into this Church 75 years ago, where they married.  Only six people and the vicar attended that day, they had so very little.  But they had each other.
Edith worked so very hard; she took a job at “The Tubes” in Desford as a cook. Home was a warm and welcoming place, always filled with love and care, not goods or money. 
Edith loved nature; she loved to see the flowers grow, to hear the birds singing. But she never liked to have flowers in the house and she would always say that flowers should be allowed to grow and bloom as God intended.
When she was in her fifties, she worked as a deputy warden in a care home at Market Bosworth, where her daughter Jill was the warden and together they made many people’s lives easier.

Funeral EILEEN MAY CHAMBERS (9th February 2018) 

These are an edited version of the tribute given by her daughter Gina.
 We’re not sure anyone really knew our Mum Eileen; not even us. She was complex and had a depth of character that she chose not to fully reveal to anyone.
Born into a humble household in the Humberstone area of Leicester in 1931, Mum was a bright girl who was offered a sponsored place at Grammar School, but decided instead to follow her sister into the hosiery trade. It was probably from here that she gained her keen sense of style.
A glamorous young woman, she counted amongst her suitors one of the Chipperfield circus family and an international speedway rider. She chose the latter and married our Dad, Derrick in 1955. Daughters Gina and Vanessa arrived in 1958 and 1960.  Sadly, the marriage was not a good one and during the early ‘70s Mum took the difficult decision to leave.
The experience defined Mum from then on and it is not surprising that she suffered so badly from anxiety and depression all her life. It further enhanced her natural trait for privacy and self-reliance. She spoke very little of these difficulties, but we both greatly appreciate what she did for us.
Mum finally found love, happiness and contentment when she met Geoff Chambers in the late 1970s and married in 1985, settling in Desford. Geoff’s very laid back and jolly character complimented Mum perfectly. She also developed a close and special relationship with Geoff’s daughter Pat.
Mum read avidly, from the Readers Digest and novels, to following the lives of celebrities in Hello magazine.  Mum also loved the sun and she and Geoff shared many happy holidays in Spain.
Sadly, after nearly 30 years together Geoff died suddenly in 2005. Mum initially managed well on her own, but she gradually relied on the family more and more for support. This level of support would not have been possible without Gina’s husband Graham, “The 4th Emergency Service”.
 As a family, the 4 of us, enjoyed a few short breaks together in France before the onset of the balance problems she developed; much later diagnosed as Parkinson’s. In the following years she would fall many times, leading to several stays in hospital, although she showed an inner strength and determination to bounce back.
In time Mum, very reluctantly, accepted carers coming into the home to help her and she benefitted from the social interaction and reassurance this offered. She would keenly watch her garden birds even giving up her cake for her favourite blackbird.
This new phase in her life was further enhanced with the help of her cleaner Bev, gardener Toni and hairdresser Jo, who did so much more for Mum than their specific jobs. Along with Pat, they became an integral and much appreciated part of Mum’s support and social network.
In July 2016 Mum finally had to move to Nightingales Nursing Home in Wigston. We both took her on regular trips into Wigston in the wheelchair where she enjoyed coffee and cake and a walk through the park.
Although she was a reluctant resident, she eventually settled and made friends and even played dominoes, a skill she had picked up watching Geoff in the pub. She was well liked and never lost the personal traits that made her who she was – spirited and straight talking!
Latterly Mum could only communicate by hand signals and a ‘thumbs up’ became one of her favourites.
We loved you very much Mum, so finally, we would just like to say a big ‘thumbs up’ to you!
Gina Handsworth


2017 Below

FUNERAL– Penny Ellway 
Penny’s funeral took place on 28th September and Peter & James have given us permission to print her eulogy
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.
Those are words from a film that were very special to Penny and they are words that sum up how she felt about life. Whatever was going on in the world, whatever heartache her friends, family or neighbours were going through, she was always there, spreading love to anyone who needed it. Although SHE didn't see it that way. I don't think Penny was ever aware of the effect her kindness had on people. That was just her being her.
Penny lived her life to the full. She did more in her 38 years than many of us will ever do.
She travelled. Australia, New Zealand, America, you name it. She spent time, money and energy looking after orphan babies in Romania and if she could’ve brought them home with her, she would have done.
Despite her travels, Penny was a home bird. She loved Desford, and she loved the people there. She dedicated so much time to the local church and the choir, she made breakfasts at the pigeon shoot and she kept The Blue Bell in business for years.
Her family meant the world to her, as did her Godchildren and her many, many, friends. And her cats of course.
Penny had no fear. Not content with jumping out of an aeroplane once, she did it many times, even qualifying to jump solo. She climbed Everest, and she ran a marathon. She played a gorilla in a pantomime.
And that was just Penny. She was never too embarrassed to get dressed up, and never took herself seriously.
We would often joke that her life resembled a sitcom because at times, it was so random. One minute she’d be pulling pints behind a bar, the next she’d be advising someone on a mortgage before looking after kids in a nursery and then she’d be interviewing a celebrity for her radio show. And that would all be within one day.
She worked hard and not because she wanted to fuel a materialistic lifestyle. In fact, many of us will know just how frugal she was. She’d rather eat dry pasta for dinner and drink blue nun if it meant she could save her money to go and visit friends at the weekend. That was just Penny. She always put everybody else first. Always.
And that didn’t stop at her family and friends. She was passionate about charities, and did everything from Hospital Radio to collecting bottle tops to enable others to benefit. I remember telling her I was going to do a sky dive for the Roy Castle Cancer Charity and recall her saying, That’s lovely Simon, but the bloody cats need it more!
There is much we can learn from Penny. Her qualities as a friend were exceptional. She would give anyone the time of day, she never judged, she never said no, she never put herself first. She’d never forget anyone’s birthday and she would always be on the end of the phone or ready to pop round for a chat. Armed with a bottle of wine and her slippers of course.
Having known Penny for some 30 years, I and many of us here will have recognised a change in her in more recent years. We all know that when her favourite cadet James came back into her life, she had never been happier. She slowed down and she cherished every single moment of being a wife. She even moved out of Desford, albeit on the condition that James would always have to be the designated driver.
There is much we can learn from Penny and the way she embraced life and treated other people.
In so many ways, Penny has not left us. Her humour, her confidence and her passion for life will live on through all of us sat here today. Also, for the million and one reasons she gave on Facebook, it is essential that we are all here for James and not just during the next week or so.
Penny was a real one off and she was taken from us far too soon. But, she did NOT lose a battle. She absolutely won the game of life.

FUNERAL - Marilyn (Lynn) Angelinetta died on 27th July after battling a very rare form of cancer. A young 72, sporty and popular, her funeral service on August 8th was a well-attended event, at which a good friend Roy Bunting gave a moving tribute.

Lynn grew up in Cheadle, Staffordshire, an only child. She went to Uttoxeter Girls High School and later trained as a PE teacher in Derby. Amongst other teaching posts she had a long spell at Ibstock Community College. With her first husband Tony she had a son and daughter, Tim and Sally. Later she was married to Paul Angelinetta for 24 years.

She enjoyed tennis, cycling and golf and was an active member at the Forest Hill Club. Retirement in 2005 was followed by Paul’s retirement in 2008 which allowed time for themselves, including regular trips to Bradenton on the beautiful west coast of Florida.

She was taken ill in Florida last November and despite creative and intensive treatment she declined and passed away. Her son Tim read the words of WH Davies at her service …

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Funeral : Hazel Jean Mottram: 8th May

While talking with the family, I discovered that Hazel has always been a local girl: born in Desford and living locally all her life. Hazel was married to husband Les for 53 years, having originally met at Newbold club, where I am told she was dancing “the Twist”. She was someone who enjoyed life, but not in any extravagant way. She was happy with the simple pleasures of life. The pleasure of going to her sisters on a Sunday for a cup of tea, of holidays in Scarborough and Paignton, of trips to the theatre while away on holiday and of being with her family. She enjoyed trips to places like Wolverhampton races and the famous trip to the zoo, when she was followed around by a peacock. She was someone who didn’t like to be inactive and enjoyed supervising Les whilst he did the garden.

I am told she was a kind hearted and generous person, especially borne out in her work as a dinner lady in the locally academy, when she was generous with the portions she gave out.

The thing that came through to me while meeting the family in everything I heard, is the very deep love that everybody had for Hazel, and that she had for all those around her.

Rev’d Rob Marsh

Funeral : Clarence Petcher4th May

Clal to some in the family and Petch to others at work, died suddenly on April 12th at the age of 88. Despite some health issues he had continued active and out of doors and was a familiar figure in Manor Road, walking Tula the dog and catching up with passers-by.

He was married in St Martin’s Church in March 1954 and had just marked 63 years of marriage to Nora, his beloved wife. He spent 35 years working at Desford Tubes, where he was known for his easy going, warm hearted and generous nature.

He was most at home in the out of doors, setting vegetables in the garden, harvesting the produce and he enjoyed giving the best of it away. Sloes and blackberries were gathered for sloe gin and blackberry brandy. He enjoyed all living things, and was once adopted by a very trusting wood pigeon, that settled on his head and so journeyed home with him … this unexpected lodger then took some dislodging as it was encouraged – at first unsuccessfully – to move on!

He had a love both of history and of holidays, and was able to combine the two with trips to the battleground sites of France. Other holidays were taken on the East Coast in a caravan, with his family and also with his daughter in law’s family from Bradford.

His love of the horses led to him organising annual trips to the races around the country for 20 years for a group of family and friends.

A good number of people joined his wife Nora, brothers Derek and Harold, sons Paul and Les, with Tula the dog at St Martin’s church to remember him and entrust him to God – and at the point of the Commendation, having been silent throughout, Tula gave two quick barks with a perfect sense of timing, marking her own farewell.

John Capstack

27/04/32 – 15/01/17 It is a great privilege for me to stand before you now and reflect on the life of my father, John Capstack.
Everyone will have their own memories of dad- whether as a colleague, friend, grandfather, father or husband- and I want to spend a few minutes remembering not just his life but also those things which defined his character and made him such a special part of our lives.
Dad was born on 27th April 1932, in Burton upon Trent to Robert and Annie Capstack. Robert, my grandfather, had moved from Lancashire to take up the position of factory manager at Eatoughs, the shoe manufacturer. I mention this because we are all, to some extent, reflections of our parents, and the spirit that drove Robert to seek new opportunities and strive for the best for his family was also a defining characteristic of dad.
Dad was an only child and expectations were high. At school dad proved to be a fine scholar: diligent and hardworking, he seized the opportunities that Burton Grammar School offered him and made the most of them. He excelled in all areas- maths, science, art and literature. This was recognised when, in 1947, dad was presented with the mayor’s prize for best school report by the mayor of Burton.
Dad’s love of mathematics, science and poetry stayed with him for the rest of his live, however on leaving school dad went to work at Eatoughs in the design department- for which his artistic and creative skills would stand him in good stead.
Before long, dad, like the majority of his generation, was called up for National Service, eventually completing two years in the RAF. Again, dad embraced this opportunity.
Dad spent his time at Clee Hill, near Ludlow, as a radar operator. His grandchildren could have been forgiven for thinking that, during this time, dad was an ace spitfire pilot- an assumption he did little to encourage, and even less to correct. Here he met and made friends with people from a wide range of backgrounds, and it was whilst serving here that dad discovered his love of opera, which stayed with him for the rest of his life.
The end of National Service meant a return to Burton and to Eatoughs. It also led to dad meeting my mum and a whole new chapter of his life.
Mum tells of how dad would wait outside Darley’s bookshop (where she worked) in an attempt to ask her out- and how she exited by a different door to avoid him! Showing the sort of tenacity for which he was renowned, dad contrived to meet mum by following her on to the bus when she was returning from the cinema one evening and asked if he could escort her home. Romance followed.
They married on 5th April 1958 (probably for tax reasons, knowing dad), settling in a flat in Burton whilst their new house, 123 Forrest Road, Shobnall, was being built. On moving in they were joined by Alison in 1961, then me and then Val.
In 1968 dad moved to work in the Earl Shilton factory and we all moved to Desford where Lindsey was born. I remember the first time we went to view 10 Cottage Lane- and we all loved it. Dad loved the house and the garden and the opportunities it afforded. The house and garden were to become his passion for the rest of his life. 
Looking back I am struck by the heroic scale of some of the home improvements that dad undertook. He seemed to make it a point of honour that he would not have the right tools for the job.
 I once remember him demolishing part of a chimney breast equipped only with a sledgehammer head, attached to an old coffee table leg, and a broken cold chisel in order to make a hole for a book case. On another occasion I remember the pervading sense of tension as dad papered the sitting room ceiling with only two croquet mallets to aid him. There was nothing dad could not turn his hand to. He built furniture, demolished outbuildings, built tree and Wendy houses, papered walls and remodelled the garden- every task being carried out with meticulous care and to superb effect. 
This can do attitude also meant that he could not abide his children sitting around doing nothing. Many was the time that we would be sitting watching TV when there would be a terse rap on the window followed by dad entreating us to get up and do something productive.
Dad not only believed in an active body but also an active mind. Talking to my sisters’ one of the things that stood out about dad was that he was always encouraging us to challenge our own opinions. Dad was not much of a small talker but he was an excellent debater and loved serious discussion. Many times, at the dinner table, one of us would voice an opinion that dad would proceed to forensically analyse- challenging us to support our often callow opinion by ruthlessly playing devil’s advocate. He nearly always won and- though maddening at the time-it had lasting effects on all of us. 
As we grew up dad continued to dedicate himself to his work. Eatoughs was a big part of his life- and ours. He travelled extensively- and the names Milan, Florence, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf were not strange to us. He also travelled to New York on two occasions. When he came home he would invariably bring us some reminder of his travels. 
Dad devoted 40 years of his life to Eatoughs and, when this eventually came to an end, he sought new challenges. He had the opportunity to work in India. He loved this experience- though I think he was shocked by some of the conditions he encountered- and it gave him the opportunity to travel and visit some wonderful sites.
When retirement finally came dad still did not rest and he threw himself into the house and garden with even more vigour. He also worked on various artistic projects that interested him. One of these was Celtic art. As a child dad had been excellent at fretwork and Celtic knot work may have appealed to him for this reason. In any event, he produced beautiful work, casting some of it into garden ornaments. The garden, of course was his major passion and he loved opening his garden up to the public on open garden days- his efforts being rewarded by universal praise.
Dad was a wonderful provider and always wanted the best for his family. He loved his family deeply and would always support us. He was also proud of us- something he told us more and more in later life. Looking back, having four children when you yourself were an only child must have proved quite a challenge- noisy family holidays must have tested him to the limit (although we were always complimented on our impeccable behaviour when out in public!). 
Once we were all married and had children of our own dad had to get used to even more noise, as he was blessed with ten Grandchildren. He loved all his grandchildren dearly- and if it was a bit of an ordeal when we all turned up on his doorstep he had the good taste to disguise it as best he could. 
Grandchildren gave a new lease to dad’s creativity: he built a huge Christmas cracker from which he would distribute presents and he put his artistic talents to use designing beautiful sets for school nativity plays.
Over the last few years frailty began to set in- but he was able to remain relatively active until recently. Sadly for such a wonderfully intelligent and creative man, that last year or so saw a gradual decline in his mental faculties- although he never lost them entirely. Dad had a wicked sense of humour- he wasn’t a joke teller, but he was very witty. This could be seen even in the last few days when he would tease his carers. He was still able to recognise us all right up to his last few hours- and he died as he would have wished: in his own home and surrounded by those he loved.
I have spoken of dad’s wit, intellect, drive, integrity, sense of duty and love of family. One word that I have not used yet is “Gentleman”.
When I started thinking about this eulogy I wanted to avoid trite phrases. Every male funeral I have ever attended usually refers at some point to the fact that the deceased was “a real gentleman”. This was usually evidenced by the fact that the said gentleman always wore a tie and was polite in the presence of women! The word “gentleman” somehow seemed to me to be a lazy shorthand to sum up my father. However it is also the word that, since his passing, I have heard used more than any other- it just kept cropping up.
So I now make no apologies for saying of dad: “he was a true gentleman”. Yes, he was cultured, intelligent, witty and talented but he was also kind, generous, honourable, supportive and driven to do the best for his family. He was a loving husband and proud father and grandfather.
For that, dad we thank you and we are all grateful. Your work is done. God bless.
Janet and the Family would like to thank everyone who attended John’s Funeral Service on Thursday 26th January and for the beautiful cards, messages and prayers received in our sad loss.
John would have been amazed and not a little embarrassed to know he was so well regarded. 
We miss him.   Thank you all so much.

Kathleen Mary Taylor of St. Martin's Drive,

Desford, died on January 17th, aged 101.  She was born in the Blue Bell, Desford on Monday September 26th, 1915; one of six children of Walter and Laura Starbuck.  She was educated in the local school in Main Street, where, much later, she would serve as School Clerk.  She married her late husband Bill in 1936 and moved to Enfield, London, from where they returned to Desford, to live in a cottage behind the pub (since demolished) when their London home was bombed.  They had two sons, Stuart, and Malcolm who pre-deceased her.  There are four grandchildren, seven great grand-children and two great great grandchildren.
 Twenty years ago, she set down her memories of her childhood and upbringing in the village, entitled "A Desford Childhood-A Publican's daughter remembers the twenties". Sadly, this slim volume, co-authored with Mrs Caroline Wessel and with a forward by the late Mrs Betty Dickson, is currently out of print.  Her memory was keen and full, describing simple pleasures and pastimes and the great influence of her Christian and public-spirited parents.  She was taken into the church at the age of three (when her father returned from W.W.1) and was still attending into her eighties, riding on her bicycle. Thereafter, she received the Sacrament at home; remaining a generous giver, which included a Home Communion Set for the benefit of those who, like her, could not get out much.
Her memories of the village, its houses, topography, personalities and shops were committed to tape as an oral history.
Her memoir includes a detailed description of the Blue Bell; how its composition and interior reflected the make-up of village society, from "those whose behaviour was quite rough; who would swear, drink strong beer and spit into spittoons; who would smoke a coarse old twist tobacco.  Many of the miners with bad chests, would cough incessantly".  At the other end was "the Snug...a small and select room, where a man could bring his wife for a smart evening out".  She has left a treasure trove of photographs.
Mrs. Taylor was much-travelled.  She had been to the Kremlin, to the White House, down the Hudson River, to Venice and to Athens. She met Senator Barry Goldwater and danced with Cliff Richard.
Her family was close and family gatherings with Nana K very important.  Her centenary was marked in the Blue Bell, but she was beginning to fail physically.  Her sight had been poor for years and she once gave the Rector a cup of coffee, made of gravy granules!  Her death was peaceful.  Her funeral was held at Nuneaton Crematorium on Friday February 3rd.  The sixty attendees included those from Dubai, the Isle of Man and the north of England. The cortege set off from the Blue Bell and family and friends returned to the Blue Bell for the reception.  She had outlived all her contemporaries but the memory of her life and of the village is not lost, because of who she was and what she recorded.
It now remains to be seen whether, with funding and some imagination, her legacy can be presented in written/visual form, with commentary, to a wider audience.

Jean Liddington of Main Street, Peckleton,

died on New Year's Day, aged 90.  She came to the village in infancy and had lived there ever since.  She attended the Village School (now the Village Hall) and completed her education at South Charnwood School.  She was married to Walter, who pre-deceased her twenty years ago.  Jean joined the Peckleton P.C.C. at the age of 17 and served as Churchwarden for over 50 years.  A wide network of friends and contacts reflected her many interests including Mothers' Union, W.I. , Endeavour Club, Scrabble, home Bible Study and Deanery Synod.  She was a faithful worshipper and tireless worker for Peckleton Church.  She had faced ill health and personal loss.  As increasing immobility restricted her, she made good use of her pen and telephone, to complete repairs, building projects and improvements.  She had a sense of humour, loved company and was rarely short of things to say or comments to make.  Her mind was keen until the end.  Her funeral was held in the church on Friday January 27th, followed by a committal at Nuneaton Crematorium and a Reception in the Village Hall.  Former Rector David Senior paid tribute to her friendship and vision for the local church.  Jean is survived by her daughter Dawn.

ROBERT (BOB) GREEN 13th December 2016
These words were shared by his daughter at the funeral

Bob was a kind, caring, honest and gentle husband, Dad, Grandad, Brother, Cousin and Friend. 
Jackie and I are both extremely proud to have called him our Dad and we both loved him very much. 
 Bob had many joys, hobbies and loves in his life, which I am sure many of you have your own memories of, he loved, The great outdoors, His garden and lawns, Woodworking , Shooting, His Super rocket motorbike , Wales
His cats, Minnie Twinkle and Billy,His family.
However the greatest and most precious love of his life was my mum for whom he loved and was totally devoted to. 
God looked around his garden
And He found an empty place.
And then He looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.
He put His arms around you,
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful,
He always takes the best.
It broke our hearts to lose you.
But you didn't go alone,
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.

Holy Baptism 2018

Ewan Edward Smith, son of Graeme Smith & Hannah Louise O’Dell, was baptised on 26th August




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