Piddle Valley Churches

These Obituaries have been published in News & Views


Cyril Warbin - 1926-2016

Cyril's life gives one a good picture of farming in the later 30s when mechanisation was still in its infancy and working on the land was very hard. Much was expected of the workers - particularly in winter. Cyril and his twin brother Maurice, were born on 2nd October 1926 at Bellamys (known as Littlebrook Cottage today) in Piddletrenthide. He gradually became one of nine children! He attended the Village School and also attended Sunday School at the Wesleyan Chapel. On leaving school at 14, he went to work for General Sir Henry Jackson to look after his horses and milk the cow. He was able to ride out with the second horse and go hunting in the winter.

Cyril next worked for Percy Abbot to help out on the farm. National Service intervened, and on returning to Piddletrenthide, he went to work for Harry Smart and later for Harry Alner at Alton Mill, where he hand-milked the cows.

During the snow-bound winter of 1963, Cyril, now married and living in Piddlehinton, would leave home at 5.00 am and walk to work at Alton Mill, and return home at about 7.00 pm. When the Alners finally gave up Alton Mill, Cyril went to work at Handford Farms. There he looked after the pigs and drove the slurry cart. He worked for Handford Farms until his retirement in 1991. Eventually the smell of pigs left their bungalow!

Cyril married Linda in 1948. Gerald was born in 1950, and with Gran, they moved into a bungalow in Paynes Close, Piddlehinton in 1974. Gran suffered a stroke and was nursed at home by Linda and Cyril. During his retirement Cyril enjoyed gardening. He also enjoyed beating at the Wrackleford shoot and continued doing this well into his 80s. He played darts and whist, and liked to follow the South Dorset Hunt on his bicycle in his younger years. He was a keen supporter of the Labour Party and a staunch member of the Agriculteral Workers Union, but after the ban on fox hunting, he never voted Labour again! He also enjoyed a pint or two at the Thimble with friends or family.

It was a great rarity for Cyril to leave his beloved Dorset. In 1996 he was invited to join the celebration of Mr Christopher Pope's 60th birthday, which took place at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Cyril and Gerald took a train from Dorchester to Waterloo - Cyril declared he had not travelled on a train since his National Service. Cyril loved his family above all and it was a sad day when Linda died in 2006. He coped very well, washing, cleaning and cooking until his fall in 2016. He spent 10 weeks in hospitals - Sherborne, Dorchester and Yeovil. After coming home, he had a dedicated team of Carers. His knees became very painful and he could no longer walk, but he bore his pain and disabilities bravely. He died peacefully on Sunday 23rd October 2016. Gerald lost his best friend and his Dad.

Bridget Rennison


John Cawthorn Browing

Architect, Aston Martin and Piddle Valley enthusiast

05 September 1940-23 October 2016

Picture of John Browning

Born in London in the war, John progressed from Prep School to Merchant Taylors leaving early to join the Cunard Steamship Company. It was a job, but didn't really give him what he wanted, which turned out to be a place in the architecture profession. He studied in his own time, then went to Oxford School of Architecture but after one year, gained a place at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He studied, rowed for Selwyn, but also took up other activities - rare amongst rowers - sailing and driving a prewar Aston Martin.

After qualifying he worked in Windsor for Edgington Spink & Hyne, then Feilden & Mawson in Norwich before joining Richard Plincke and Keith Leaman to form Plincke, Leaman & Browning in Winchester in 1971. The practice grew over the years with always a strong design ethos attracting brilliant young architects to join the team. Moving from a partnership to a limited company and becoming architecture plb, the practice numbered around 60 when John retired in 2000. The agreement at age 37 for the partners to retire at 60 seemed at that point completely inappropriate, so the retiring partners formed a new practice Regeneration Partnership based at first within the aplb office to continue with smaller scale projects. By the time Richard, Keith and John retired, they had moved from a mix of local extensions and houses to multi-million pound educational and other projects around the UK, the Channel Islands and Europe. His creative flair and design integrity has been recognised throughout his career with many design awards for his buildings.

John Browning driving 'Florence'

John developed his vehicle and restoration knowledge from an early age living in London, then later at West Tytherley with young teenage children, he built a Marlin kit car. His return to Aston Martins was a DB 2/4 which he persuaded his partners and accountant to accept as his office car as it was less costly than their modern VWs! His first serious Aston restoration was 'Florence' the 1934 Mk II in 1989 while living at The Soke in Winchester with the benefit of a very large garage. Once complete, he entered competitive events, racing (he first raced his original Mk II at Silverstone while studying), sprints, the favourite Wiscombe hill climb, occasional Concours, touring and even using Florence for site visits.

Moving to Millers Barn in Plush in 2000, John concentrated first on remodelling the house and garden. With the benefit of a large garage and vehicle lift and ready for another challenge, he acquired a DB2 and began another total restoration and on completion, with another DB2, spent five weeks touring the entire Scottish coastline. Then there was the 1923 SideValve. When seeing the car for the first time emerging from the garage with bulging exhaust, daughter Cleo exclaimed 'Hissing Sid', being reminded of her childhood memory of Keith Michell and Captain Beaky and his band "Said Reckless Rat, 'That's rather funny, There's something jumping in his tummy.' Said Captain Beaky, 'Well, I'm blowed, Hissing Sid has swallowed Toad.'"

John Browning with 'Hissing Sid'

After months of painstaking research and identifying parts required, he embarked on the total rebuild - the car emerged with a new ash frame (conveniently he had retained and planked an ash tree, one of six felled), new or restored parts, leather trim and grey paintwork. The name 'Hissing Sid' was entrenched, with all six grandchildren following the restoration in awe and lending a hand to clean and polish or go for a ride whenever they could! John enjoyed driving Hissing Sid through the Dorset hills and entering the car in the Aston Martin Greenwich Concours. He was delighted that the car continued on the road used and enjoyed by new owners, recently winning the 2016 Concours of Elegance at Windsor Castle.

Architecture and Aston Martin driving and restoration continued alongside the enjoyment of Plush and the Piddle Valley. He enjoyed walking and discovering the rolling Dorset landscape and its history, the five Valley settlements, the buildings and their character, the residents, and each year the Brendel's wonderful Music at Plush concerts. John's restoration of the historic Plush fingerpost outside The Brace of Pheasants set off a chain of restorations of other historic fingerposts in Dorset which have now become part of AONB policy. The Dorset and East Devon AONBs are currently subject to well advanced consideration for elevation to National Parks status due to the magnificent landscapes, complex geology and the world heritage coastline. He would have regarded this as another major step forward in protecting the Dorset landscape.

John joined the Piddle Valley Design Statement Committee contributing his professional expertise in the planning, maps and content and was delighted that on completion, the District Council endorsed the recommendations and conclusions. He followed the progress of the Parish Plan but wondered how it would work out for the Valley. In his professional role he had sought Oliver Letwin's advice and through their meetings and discussion, it became clear that a Parish Plan would be superseded by a wider Localism roll out. A few 'pilot' Neighbourhood Plan projects emerged - Sherborne among them. John recognised the value of a Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan, could see the benefit and value for both residents and businesses so a conversation emerged and while the Sherborne project floundered, enthusiasm grew in the Piddle Valley. A packed meeting in Piddletrenthide Memorial Hall saw the establishment of the Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan Working Group (NPWG) under the chairmanship of Richard Drewe. John later took on the mantle of chair and steered the process forward on occasion involving Oliver Letwin in NPWG meetings at Millers Barn arranged specifically at breakfast time to suit the busy MP's schedule. Piddle Valley News & Views became an important conduit to enable regular reports of progress on all aspects and progress of the Neighbourhood Plan. In time, and knowing that his eyesight would result in moving from Plush, the baton was taken up by Paul Johns to complete and he followed with great interest the progress of the Piddle Valley Neighbourhood Plan. Sadly, John's sudden death occurred before the final stages of the PVNP were completed. Since then the Plan has been approved by WDDC and the Inspector leaving only the community vote to take place before the Plan is implemented.

John's many interests ran parallel to architecture, family life and Aston Martins and he fully embraced all these worlds. He was very proud of Ben and Cleo and the 6 grandchildren, all of whom share his passion for cars and their noise! John and Dot moved to Axmouth Harbour in May to enjoy the amazing light and coastal environment - he even had plans to restore another Aston Martin! The service of celebration on the 11th November in St Michael's Church, Axmouth saw many friends and family attending from all the chapters of his life and the opportunity to see again the Aston Martins that he had restored.

©Dot Browning | 6th December 2016

Pictures

1. John Browning's 60th celebration birthday lunch at Millers Barn, Plush © Dot Browning

2. John Browning driving Florence (1934 Aston Martin Mark II) at Sawbench, Wiscombe Hill Climb © AMOC

3. John Browning with Hissing Sid (1923 Aston Martin SideValve), at the Aston Martin Centenary Timeline, Kensington Palace, 2013 © AMOC


Eric Groome, 1934-2016

Picture of Eric Groome

Eric was the seventh of eight children born to John and Daisy Groome of Granville Road, Parkstone. His father died of tuberculosis when he was 9 years old and thereafter Eric took on a practical, fatherly role to help his family through difficult times. In particular he developed an interest for gardening and growing vegetables, where Eric's love for gardening must have first developed.

At the end of the Second World War, Eric's saving grace was the return of the woodwork teacher to Kemp Welch School who reopened the woodwork classroom. As a young teenager Eric developed a passion for working in wood and on leaving school he secured a wood working apprenticeship with the company Muscle White and Simpkins in Bournemouth. In 1954 Eric was called up to take part in National Service where he was a woodworker in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, stationed in South Korea.

On returning from South Korea, Eric was employed by a high class joinery company, EW Kingsbury and Sons. This gave Eric the opportunity to make high quality furniture, particularly in Walnut, which established him as a master cabinet maker.

In 1958 he married his childhood sweetheart Jean Brooklyn at St Clements Church, Parkstone followed by a honeymoon in Jersey. Eric and Jean had a bungalow built on a plot of land they had purchased at Corfe Way in Broadstone which became a happy family home for the next 30 years with their two daughters, Paulette and Beverly. To support his family Eric swapped his cabinet making career for working in the caravan industry at BK Caravans. He progressed from foreman, to designing caravan interiors, to eventually becoming a director until his retirement from BK Bluebird in 1991.

Eric and Jean made the perfect gardening couple - their garden at Broadstone was truly spectacular. They were keen and enthusiastic members of the Broadstone Horticultural Society and Eric was the gardener who won many first prizes and trophies, especially for his vegetable entries. He will be remembered for his incredible gardening knowledge and how he was always so willing to share this knowledge. He encouraged and supported other like-minded gardeners to strive to do their best and aim higher, which ultimately raised the standards within the garden society.

In 1991 Eric and Jean started a new chapter in their lives when they moved to Alton Pancras. Both now retired, (most people would be sitting back and taking life a little more easy), Eric and Jean spent the next twenty five years transforming their house and garden into a lovely home.

A talented and passionate gardener, Eric will be remembered for his desire to always work on a grand scale! This included the mammoth greenhouse, the rockery designed and created by himself using two lorry loads of Purbeck stone and his rather unique pergola structure.

Once Eric and Jean had settled into village life at Alton Pancras, they soon joined the Piddle Valley Gardens Club and both became committee members. At that time the Club required new energy and innovation. Using his expertise at Broadstone, Eric's influence and impact was pronounced and immediate. This resulted in the reintroduction of the Spring Flower Show and greater interest in producing vegetables and flowers of the highest quality. As a consequence membership of the Club increased substantially.

The Summer Show of 2000, which took place in a marquee as part of the Millennium Celebrations, received high praise from the judge who commented that the quality of the produce was one of the best he had ever judged at a village event and the first he had experienced in a marquee for many years. To a large extent this success was due to Eric's input. The sheer number of prizes he won at shows is unlikely to be repeated in the future. Mention must also be made of the marvellous displays of flowers and vegetables that Eric produced to decorate the Memorial Hall for Club harvest suppers.

Later in his life Eric found another love. He joined the local art club where he spent many long hours creating botanical art. His paintings were exquisite and it seemed that yet again Eric was able to turn his magical hands to a new skill. Each year family and friends awaited the arrival of Eric and Jean's Christmas card with great anticipation, knowing it would have an Eric masterpiece on the front.

Eric was a great asset to have in the valley. He also got involved in local projects such as the millennium seat and making two notice boards for the village.

Eric was everyone's friend. He will be remembered for his perfectionism and his inspiration to others. Eric was quiet, unassuming and yet generous with his expertise. He had true magic in his hands whether it was in the garden, in the workshop or with a paintbrush. The impact of Eric's twenty-five years in the Piddle Valley cannot be overstated. The Garden Club will not see the like of him again.

It was Eric's wish to remain at home during the last months of his life, which was made possible by the amazing care and support of Dr Dobbs and the district nurses at Cerne Abbas Surgery, the Park House care team in Weymouth and the local Marie Curie nurses. Eric passed away peacefully at his home with Jean and his two daughters at his side. He also leaves behind five grandchildren.


Walter George Sims 1931 - 2015

Walter was born at Bookham, Buckland Newton 22nd May 1931. He was the youngest of five children born to Frank and Lavinia Maud Sims. The family moved to Piddlehinton, where Walter spent most of his childhood attending school there and making long term friends. Walter married in 1952 and lived with his wife and parents at Bank Cottages on the same site where the new "Banks Cottages" now stand. He worked for Cyril Green at Swan Lane.

Walter worked on a variety of farms in Dorset, he moved around the country but was always drawn back to Piddlehinton, his roots, he never forgot his friends and was a regular at the village fete where he would catch up with some of those friends, some of whom he went to school with.

Walter was diagnosed with dementia, and when his health declined it was agreed that he would benefit from living closer to his family. In October 2014 he went to live in residential care at Taunton, Somerset.

Although suffering with dementia he would often talk of Piddlehinton, friends and childhood antics and could tell a tale or two, always conscious of his humble beginnings.

In the summer of 2015 Walter welcomed two great-great-grandsons making him the head of five generations.

Walter passed away on 13th December 2015 in Musgrove Hospital, Taunton. His burial took place at St. Mary the Virgin Piddlehinton on 22nd December.

He is now at peace resting in the same churchyard as his parents and sister Ivy. He lays next to a friend and with others that he knew and grew up with.

Donations made in memory of Walter amounted to £220 and will be divided between St. Mary the Virgin Church and the British Heart Foundation. It is a great comfort to the family knowing Walter is back home where he wanted to be, and they would like to thank all those who attended the funeral and extend their thanks to Alan Neades, Fay Lord, John Hudson, Thimble Inn, and Tony Monds for his advice.

Kathleen Darby (Daughter)


ROSE MARION COSH (1938 - 2014)

Rose was born at Marnhull where her parents Albert and Nellie Elsworth ran a shop but after a year they moved to Moreton, where brother Jim was born. Albert was away in the RAF during the war so mother and the two children came to Alton Pancras to live with Rose's aunt Louisa Allen and her uncle Bill at Number 1 The Terrace. It was very cramped there so in time they were able to move to number 2. Later, after her marriage, she would live at number 3! Mother Nellie became village postmistress in succession to the Clarks in 1946 at a salary of £56.11.0d per year. With so few phones in the village, young Rose was always being sent to various addresses to deliver messages, getting to know the village, and villagers, quite well. The advent of local supermarkets made the shop less viable so its last years were just postal services, the business offered for sale in 1976 for £15,500.

In 1970 Rose married Eddie Cosh of Charminster, who worked for the council on road maintenance, mainly driving lorries. Later, with son Gavin, they moved into the relatively - new 2 Boldacre where she was to live until declining health in 2012 required a move to Sherborne. Rose loved Alton Pancras and its people but she also enjoyed an adventure; a keen tennis fan, she had visited Wimbledon during its famous fortnight and she and Gavin even visited friends in Egypt (not the Piddletrenthide one!). Back home, she loved the fact that from her Boldacre window she could see all five different houses she had lived in.

Among the mourners at her Yeovil funeral were past village stalwarts Brian Ralph and Dick and Mary Collins - and Charlotte Gerard of Alton Mill , for whom Rose was her nanny in Newcastle-on-Tyne, days fondly remembered.


Claire Waddy (1934-2014)

In 1982 Claire Waddy felt the need for some local fun. Her Eastbourne schooldays had encouraged stage productions. In the year above her was Prunella Scales, who perhaps took theatre a little more seriously! Strolling along the main thoroughfare in Piddletrenthide, Claire (not Prunella) called across to Liz Larpent "fancy being in a local panto ?" Liz replied that she would be happy to appear in the chorus - and ended up as Prince Charming! Muriel Pike wrote the script and Cinderella duly appeared in 1983, the first of many productions. Claire's contacts led to actor Peter Gilmour, famous for his role in the TV series Onedin Line, appearing as part of Piddletrenthide Festival in 1983. The following year she produced a summer show in their garden at West Cottage titled "If The Cap Fits", which rather made fun of the local WI, of which she was part. She played two characters in the huge Dorchester Community Play in 1985 and brought one of the "Thomas Hardy 150 Events" to All Saints church in 1990. Somerset residents Peter Waddy and Claire Newton actually met in Taunton, she with an Australian suntan, he in the process of building/repairing a boat. Peter was an army officer, Claire a teacher of English and a good horsewoman, very adventurous and loved sailing. They married within the year, in 1961.

They bought West Cottage in 1963 with the aim of living there for a while, doing it up and selling it on. Son Richard was born at Tidworth, Crispin and Tim in different parts of Germany and Justin later in Abingdon. On returning to West Cottage in 1968 they quickly came to love Piddle Valley life, Claire becoming churchwarden and part of the flower-lady team. She also sang with the Briantspuddle Singers right up to the end and fittingly, they sang at her funeral service, their director Richard Hale playing the organ.

Claire always said that the most important aspect of her life was husband Peter and their sons. Typically, Peter gently tended her through her last illness, at home, as she wished.


Claire Waddy and the Piddle Valley Players

It all began in the summer of 1982. Claire said that she was going to write a pantomime and asked me if I would like to be in it. I replied rather hesitantly, as I had never been on the stage before and asked if I could sing in the chorus, and so the Piddle Valley Players was formed. Claire sat down to write Cinderella. She loved writing and this for her was part of the fun. No ready-made script from Dorchester library would have been good enough for her. Then there was the music. In her old friend Gill Howell she had the perfect partner. Gill loved composing and so while Claire wrote the lyrics, Gill composed the music, and thereafter the shows were always known as the Waddy-Howell Productions. When Claire wrote, she always had in her mind whom she would like to play the parts. When she had finished she got on her bicycle (usually one belonging to the boys) and set off around the village. She would arrive unannounced at the door, have a cup of coffee and then drop the bombshell. She would like you to either be the prompt, help with the costumes, or take the leading role. She was a past master in the art of persuasion and never took no for an answer. Nobody escaped the net, not even the vicars of this parish. Cinderella was the least professional of all the pantomimes, as no one had ever done it before - but how we laughed, we laughed till the tears ran down our cheeks - and she used to say if it's not fun, there is no point in doing it. Then came Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, followed by Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. She wrote these because there were a lot of young men in the village at the time. During this period she was working full time in Bournemouth, commuting there and back every day, and in the summer of 1983 she organized a flower festival in this church. She had a boundless amount of energy and enthusiasm.

In 1988, she wrote what some of thought was the best of them all, Alice in Piddleland. By abandoning the traditional pantomime and taking instead Lewis Caroll's classic tale, it enabled her to write about each of Alice's adventures and set them in separate scenes. This was a very ambitious production with umpteen scene changes, many props, two pantomime horses on the stage at the same time, and a large cast. There were always lots of children as she used to say "if you have the children on the stage, you will have the grannies in the seats". We used to do five productions in the days before the rules, regulations and red tape with which we are beset today. It was nothing to have a hundred people in the audience and over thirty in the cast and this in one of the smallest village halls in Dorset.

After Alice there was a gap of about 10 years because Claire and Peter bought a flat in Paris, and Claire went there to work teaching English to French bankers. It wasn't until 1998, at the request of Colin Davis and David Webb who wanted to play the ugly sisters, that Claire was approached to do Cinderella again. She responded with alacrity and Cinderella No.1 was brought out of mothballs, dusted down and put on the stage. Same pantomime - different cast.

It wouldn't be right, whilst I'm talking about Claire, not to mention that she loved acting and was a very good actress. Her opportunity came when Jan Garner, who was living in the village, asked her to direct a play. The play was called The Farndale Avenue Murder Mystery. It was an incredibly funny farce, with no less than 18 characters played by five people. Claire was the principal part, Mrs Reece. She also played six other parts as well. How she ever remembered her lines I never knew, and in retrospect neither did she! It was while we were rehearsing for Farndale that she had to go into hospital to have a small operation. We, the remaining four held our breath, because without her we could not have continued. However as soon as it was over she left her hospital bed and was back the next day rehearsing. This was so typical of Claire. She was 100% reliable and would never have let anyone down. In theatrical terms she was a real trouper!

With the millennium came Sleeping Beauty, followed by two revues - Cabaret 1 and Cabaret 2 - which was fun for the cast because we played different characters and fun for the audience because they sat at small tables sipping wine. By now she was beginning to worry about who would take over the Piddle Valley Players when she retired. She used to say "I don't want it to die a quiet death". We always hoped that someone would come to live here who liked amateur dramatics and would take it over. However, living in Alton Pancras was someone called Rachel Olley. What we didn't know was that Rachel came from an amateur dramatic family and had a wealth of theatrical experience. She first appeared in the cast of what was to be Claire's last pantomime, Aladdin. Claire stood on the stage after the final Saturday night performance and announced her retirement. Rachel took over the reins and Claire was so happy, pleased and relieved that something she had started so long ago was in safe hands.

Rachel dedicated each performance of the latest production 'Allo 'Allo to the memory of Claire. The play was incredibly funny and incredibly naughty. How she would have loved it, how much she would have laughed and how very much we shall all miss her.

Liz Larpent

I was first introduced to Claire in her Piddle Valley Players 'role' at her home and a few of us she had encouraged to be in Aladdin gathered around the piano and Gill Howell gave us all a gentle audition. As the weeks passed and rehearsals got into full swing I became more involved in the show and then it all unfurled to me the amount of work Claire put in to the shows. I also understood some of the hurdles she had to leap over to get to opening night. After a successful run Claire had decided to not be so involved and my role grew and hers softened and then she took a final bow. Claire reminded me constantly that "it should always be fun!" Well , there is absolutely no business like show business and I still believe even now we are just looking after the Piddle Valley Players for her. So from the Upper Circle I hope Claire can look down and say we are doing ok. Thanks Claire you were a STAR!

Rachel Olley


David Ralph Trott 1946 - 2013

David was born at Beaulieu Wood, Buckland Newton on his parents' wedding anniversary, some ten months or so after his father returned from two years away in France during the war. His childhood was spent with his parents Norman and Vera and older sister Joy.

The family moved to Kiddles Farm, Piddletrenthide, in the shadow of the church, while David was still at school. In 1964 the white faces of the Herefords started to arrive at the farm. The herd went on to become a well respected one and have many successes at the various agricultural shows. David was a keen sportsman in his youth and a member of Dorchester Young Farmers. He was also a keen skittler and a member of the Hunt League. He married Jane on his 21st birthday and after a short spell living in Plush they moved back to Kiddles Farm. They have two children Wendy and Lynne and three grandchildren, Tristan, Maddie and Poppy.

David died at home on Monday 30th September 2013.


Jocelyn Edith Katherine Mould-Graham 1911 - 2013

Jocelyn had a lifelong association with the Piddle Valley as her paternal grandfather, Robert Saunders, owned land comprising the parish of Alton Pancras. Born in Fitzwilliam Square Dublin on 11th October 1911, she lived with her grandparents in Ireland until the age of 10. Her maternal grandfather, Sir John Ross, became the last chief justice of a united Ireland. Her parents moved to Pitt House, Cerne Abbas in 1921. Jocelyn would ride her pony to the Manor at Alton Pancras and with her Granny Graves would continue in the dog cart on shopping trips to Dorchester; with her father she would race his wooden dinghy in Weymouth Bay. She went to school in Bournemouth, became a talented fencer and was shortlisted for the British Olympic team in 1928.

By 1935, her Irish grandparents and her mother were dead; she trained and became a conservative political agent and was sent to Newcastle. In 1937 she married Colonel Robert Mould-Graham TD, OBE, MC, a widower, accountant, local politician, territorial artillery officer and war hero. In 1938 their first child, Joanna was born but in 1939 while he left to participate in the second World War, she remained looking after her new baby and 13 year old stepdaughter and organised an army of knitters to provide woollen clothing for the forces for which she received an MBE in 1945. Two more children were born in 1947 and 1949. She became heavily involved in Newcastle political life; Robert became Sheriff, then Lord Mayor of Newcastle and Jocelyn Lady Mayoress. In 1955 she inherited the Manor and land at Alton Pancras. Joanna died in Newcastle from Leukaemia in 1962 and following Robert's retirement in 1966 the family moved to Alton Pancras where the Manor House became Jocelyn's new centre of hospitality and she continued in community works as director of the Victoria League and later Commandant of the Church Girl's Brigade. Robert died in 1979 and until her death and despite crippling osteoporosis and failing faculties she remained a dedicated and hospitable matriarch. The 31 children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren remember the cheerful smile, a cry of "walk-on-in", a sense of being uniquely cherished and the oddness of the compulsory drinking of a glass of sherry at any time of day.

Jocelyn died on 27th September in Somerleigh Court, Dorchester.

A Life Remembered - Jocelyn Edith Katherine Mould-Graham

Jocelyn's life was centred on Ireland, living with her maternal grandparents to the age of 10; Newcastle, working as conservative agent and in 1937, marrying Colonel Robert Mould-Graham TD, OBE, MC and Dorset when in 1966, she moved to Alton Pancras and the property she inherited in 1955. Born in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin on 11th October 1911, her maternal grandfather, Sir John Ross, in 1921 became the last chief justice of a united Ireland. He was a grammar schoolboy from Londonderry who eloped with and married Edith Mann, heiress to 50,000 acres of unproductive bogland in County Tyrone and an enormous, draughty and already crumbling 40 bedroom mansion with the romantic name of Dunmoyle. Both families while long on land, silver, portraits and pedigree were short on cash and it was from these eccentric beginnings that Jocelyn would make her own passage through life which not only witnessed but was influenced by the social turmoil and global conflicts of the 20th century.

Her childhood was impacted by the events of WW1; her father was a naval officer and her mother a Red Cross ambulance driver; her paternal uncle Arthur was shot and killed on his first day on the western front in 1915 and her mother, May, never recovered from her wartime experience, dying crippled by arthritis and alcohol in 1935.

Living with her grandparents in Ireland until 1921, Jocelyn established her primary attachments with "The Judge" (Sir John Ross) and her grandmother "Gaga", a woman of determination and strong character. Half of this early exposure was to a Dublin torn by social troubles, rebellion and violence but also crammed with literary giants - Yeats, Joyce, Kipling and Graves - all of whom found their way to the refuge of comfort and hospitality in 66 Fitzwilliam Square. The other half was to the soft, damp silence and decay of the great haunted, crumbling mansion Dunmoyle, where the food was always cold after travelling quarter of a mile from kitchen to dining room. Jocelyn recounted impassively her recollection of "The Judge's" car journey from Dublin to County Tyrone being shot at by the IRA and watching the machine gun squad running across the field of their ambush to "have another go" - they missed!

In 1921, aged 10, she came to Dorset where her father had bought Pitt House in Cerne Abbas. Jocelyn would ride her pony across the unfenced Giant over the hill to the Manor at Alton Pancras and with her Granny Graves (cousin to the writer/poet) would continue in the dog cart on a shopping trip to Dorchester, a journey of one hour each way. In Dorchester she would relate meeting and chatting with an affable Mr Thomas Hardy who told her that the escarpment up through Hill Wood from Alton Common was part of his setting for Tess's imaginary post rape trek to her doomed relationship with Angel in the dairy country round Tincleton. On the journey home, they once met the steamroller on the hilly bend, above the present site of the pumping station and to Jocelyn's delight the horse bolted! At weekends with her father she would race his wooden dinghy in Weymouth Bay until it was cut in half and sunk by a dummy torpedo fired in error from Portland when she said "she got a bit wet".

Jocelyn went to school in Bournemouth, became a talented fencer and was shortlisted for the British Olympic team in 1928. By 1935, her Irish grandparents and her mother were dead but they and the more emancipated social environment left her with an understanding that a woman could be possessed of her own ideas and make her own way in the world while remaining a more than competent household manager, loving mother, excellent hostess and a formidably capable cook. She trained to become a political agent and was sent to Newcastle where by 1937, after a brief interlude in 1930s Pennsylvania with her Irish emigrant cousins-cummillionaire coal barons, she met and married Robert Mould-Graham, widower, local politician, accountant, survivor from start to finish of WW1 and Colonel of the 272 Royal Field Artillery (TA). In 1938 their first child, Joanna, was born but in 1939 he left to participate in the BEF, Dunkirk, the North Africa Campaign, the Salerno landings, finally returning in 1946 from the governate of the Amalfi Coast - she would say he was the last man in the regiment to come home ! She endured heavy bombing of the Newcastle shipyards on the Tyne, kept home fires burning, looked after new baby and 13 year old stepdaughter and organised an army of knitters to provide woollen clothing for the forces; for this she received the MBE in 1945. After the war the couple consolidated their family life: two children were born in 1947 and '49 respectively, they moved into a large house, Fawdon House and became heavily involved in Newcastle local political life. Jocelyn initiated her next passage as matriarch and hostess: Fawdon for Newcastle mirrored that earlier refuge for warmth of hospitality, political argument, good food and company which had been found in 66 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. Despite severe heart disease brought on by two world wars and assisted by a smoking habit of up to 80 John Players Richmond cigarettes a day, Robert became Sheriff, then Lord Mayor of Newcastle and Jocelyn Lady Mayoress. In 1955 Jocelyn became owner of the Manor and land at Alton Pancras and in 1958 she inherited Dunmoyle, by then principally a ruin and sold in 1960 first to a local kidnapper, who found and hid his victims in a secret passage, and following his arrest to the army who blew it up as part of a demolitions challenge in 1962. The 50,000 acres of bogland have long since been transferred by Sir John and Lady Ross to the local tenant farmers.

In 1962, tragedy struck when Jocelyn's first child Joanna died in Newcastle from a form of Leukaemia. Her commemorative window, with that dedicated to Francis Saunders and his parents, are in the church in Alton Pancras, also the brass plaque commemorating her uncle Arthur. In 1966 Robert retired, Fawdon was sold and the family moved to Alton Pancras where the Manor House became Jocelyn's new centre of hospitality and from where she continued in community works as director of the Victoria League and later as Commandant of the Church Girl's Brigade. When Robert died in 1979, Jocelyn became the family matriarch; from 1992 onward she suffered osteoporosis fracture injuries which by 2005 had made her bedridden. Moving to care homes in 2012, she became increasingly demented but throughout this period of decline she remained a dedicated and hospitable matriarch. By her death her family had swollen to 31 children, grand children, great grand children and great great grandchildren. They remember, even in her lowest moments, a cheerful smile, a cry of "walk-onin", being uniquely cherished and the compulsory drinking of a glass of sherry at any time of the day!

Her funeral at the church at Alton Pancras on what would have been her 102nd birthday on 11th October was the last clan reunion around a strong, independent personality who lived a full and fruitful life. She was buried in a rather Irish wicker coffin laced with roses and she lies now in the south west corner of the church yard which she chose after consultation with her friend Sally Dangerfield, a spot which gets plenty of sunshine and has a good view of her beloved Manor and the downland around the church. It was a day of celebration but with a tinge of sadness for the passing of someone who to her friends and family had for many a long year been both uniting and iconic.

Andrew Graham


Janet Fowler (1948 - 2013)

Janet was born at Tatton Farm near Chickerell, the youngest of six children, having three sisters and two brothers. She later moved to Tarrant Rawston with her family. On leaving school she worked in Flight Refuelling's canteen at Tarrant Rushton air field. Later she met and married Roger and after various farm jobs they moved to Piddletrenthide Estate, working for the Boughey family. Janet worked in various local pubs including the European and the Brace of Pheasants. The family moved to Minehead to work on a farm but returned three years later to the Piddletrenthide Estate, this time staying for 25 years. Janet was a professional cook so worked at the Poachers Inn for Stephen and Avril Fox and family. She was well known for her steak and kidney pies and Dorset apple cakes. They later moved to Stalbridge where she worked in the local supermarket. Janet died peacefully in the Weldmar Hospice on Sunday July 7th and is survived by Roger, children Simon and Wendy and grandson Henry.


Frederick Ronald Hobday (1930 - 2013)

Fred and Beryl Hobday were well-known in Piddletrenthide for the attractive garden of their bungalow home, Willow Lawn, until moving to Gillingham (Dorset) for a smaller garden and to be closer to their children. Worcester-born, Fred joined the Navy from school and spent his ten years mainly in the Mediterranean, often playing football against local sides, sometimes with armed guards patrolling the touchlines! Whilst on board, his ship was sent to recover the wreckage of a Comet airliner which had crashed with the loss of all passengers and crew.

On discharge, he joined British Telecom, initially erecting poles and kiosks while studying and regularly passing exams led to him becoming head of cabling and maintenance in the Tunbridge Wells area, badly affected in the Great Storm of 1987.

His first marriage broke down but he maintained an excellent relationship with his three children to this day. In 1969 he married Beryl and set up home in Halesowen, moving on promotion to Wadhurst, Sussex, which made Beryl a commuter for the next ten years, before retiring to Piddletrenthide.

In 1938 young Fred was taken to watch West Bromwich Albion play football and became hooked, occasionally meeting up with his two sons to attend matches. At a Piddle Valley Gardens Club function, a member interrupted a deep conversation to ask Fred what element of gardening was being so earnestly discussed ? He responded "WBA" and often wondered, with amusement, if the person concerned ever discovered what that meant in gardening terms!

The large Piddle Valley contingent at Fred's cremation service at Yeovil showed the warmth and feeling for Fred and Beryl's years in our midst.


Brian Rennison (1927 - 2013)

Despite being born in India and spending time in various parts of the world, Brian developed his love of Dorset through his days at preparatory school in Swanage, moving on to Marlborough College under a clergyman's scholarship during WW2. His father Eric was a clergyman administering to both the British Army and the "expat" community, with mother Winifred playing an important role.

No surprise then when Brian joined the Ghurkha Regiment to do his National Service, becoming involved in the partition of India and Pakistan. His kukri still hangs proudly over the fireplace at Burdens Cottage. Then it was on to Trinity College, Dublin where he obtained his first degree, an MSc - and a wife called Elisabeth Grey. Two children later they embarked on a nine-year stay in East Africa where Brian carried out research into the Tsetse fly and other threats to crops, returning to UK at Uganda and Kenya's respective independence.

From 1962 to 1983 Brian enhanced his international reputation for pest control, visiting Afghanistan, Kuwait and Burma before taking early retirement in 1983 and settling in Piddletrenthide. He was quickly into local life, becoming secretary to the PCC and as a volunteer for the CPRE. Unfortunately this energetic man found himself confined to a wheelchair from 2005 but was readily recognised as he travelled locally on his Tramper electric vehicle, including visits to his younger sister Bridget Rennison at Piddlehinton.

Brian died peacefully on 2 June and is survived by wife Elisabeth, children David, John, Jane, Andrew and Patrick, nine grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.


Marion Jutsum Wightman (1920 - 2013)

Marion was the third daughter of Tom and Norah Wightman, whose family farmed Bellamy's and ran the butchers' business in Piddletrenthide. There was quite an age-gap between her and the other two, Nancy and Doris, so she would have more in common with brother David, born two years later. After attending the village school, Marion boarded at Lord Digby's School in Sherborne, her particular interests becoming art and tennis, after which she trained as a children's nurse at Southampton, enduring the frequent enemy bombing of that key port, moving to Bristol's Royal Infirmary (BRI) just in time for the blitz of that city too! She became responsible for transferring newborn babies from the hospital to the relative safety of North Cadbury Court, qualified as an SRN and later took charge of the BRI's convalescent home at Branksome, Poole.

The ill-health of her parents brought Marion back to the family home, Brick House, where she would nurse them. In effect she became the family housekeeper, her cooking skills attracting a wide-range of 'visitors'; family of course, preachers at the village Methodist Chapel, where Marion played the organ, and children whom she would amuse with games and rhymes. She also shared the love of the countryside of her uncle Ralph Wightman, sometimes accompanying him on his broadcasts for his BBC radio programmes.

The sudden death of her brother David in 1986 aged 64 meant leaving Brick House and she became one of the first occupants of the newly-built Holcombe Mead, Alton Pancras. She already had a connection to the village, for her aunt, Marion Emmie Jutsum, aged 18 in 1911, had lived-in at Barcombe Farm as governess to the Waterman's children. Despite no longer having the time-pressures of the farm, Marion always had her alarm set for 5.30am, kept a disciplined daily routine, enjoyed socialising and seeing more of her sister Nan and made time for a country walk every day right up to the end.


Ione Dorothy Banner (1926 - 2013)

Ione's story would make a good novel. Born in Karachi, the only child of Rachel and Edwin Price, he highly educated and working in the cotton and jute trade. Edwin died suddenly when Ione was only eight and mother and daughter returned to England to a small place in Richmond near London. Come the war, Ione and best-friend Wendy were evacuated to Australia. While in Adelaide she met a young Australian fighter pilot called Tom Allen. Back in post-war England, Wendy's family introduced Ione to another airman, Gordon Banner, a veteran of Bomber Command and later a test pilot instructor at Farnborough. They married in 1951 and after his year at staff college in Canada, the family settled in a large old house in Royston, gradually filling the large number of rooms with four children, total now six, supplemented by Ione's mother Rachel. Ione even found a use for the basement, founding a nursery school, still thriving in 2013. Later she became headmistress of a local village school, with the subsequent family move to Dorset ending her highly successful career.

When Gordon retired, he built a wooden sailing boat which he named Ione, the Greek word for 'sea-nymph' and all the family enjoyed south coast cruising. They also visited Australia where the two ex-pilots, Tom and Gordon had experiences to share.

Sadly, both Gordon, and Tom's wife Liz succumbed to cancer but it was several years later before Ione and Tom met again and romance developed through some legendary holidays, including her 80th birthday cruise to Antarctica. In December 2012 she was diagnosed with cancer and the cancellation of their booked trip to Alaska was a sad consequence. Her family united in caring for her at home and there is some poignancy in the fact that her last-ever outing was to see Fiddler On The Roof at the Memorial Hall in March.


Martin Granger (1939 - 2012)

Martin was a quiet, private man so was probably not known by many except those close to his latter-days Piddlehinton home. He joined the BBC aged 19 and worked for the Overseas Radio Service from Bush House for 33 years, as presenter, studio manager, announcer, and producer of English by Radio, teaching the language to thousands of overseas listeners. Naturally, he spoke impeccably and when he took voluntary retirement in 1992 he was presented with whiskey glasses inscribed simply Martin Granger - BBC English. His BBC friend and fellow cricketer Peter Hill told the gathering at his funeral that Martin embodied prudence, decency and old-fashioned virtues, demonstrated ably when he guided his all-male cricket club, the Bushmen, through the stages of voting to accept women members.

Nick Auger talked of his cousin Martin's upbringing in his grandmother's house in South London after his parents divorced, and of his brief marriage. Martin's three main interests were his mother, cricket and freemasonry. The service at Piddlehinton church, just below the cottage where Martin lived, included readings by Martin's cousins Tim and Miles, Grant and Ellis, and Robert and Sorrell, and donations were towards a portable scanner scheme run by the Royal College of Surgeons.


Kristina Pearce-Buckley (1950-2012)

Joran Kristina Fossum was born on 26th February in Sweden. She moved to Norway as a young child, where she was raised and educated in Hammar, so Norway can take much of the credit for making her what she became, a kind warm hearted, generous woman who enjoyed her family and very wide circle of friends. This last aspect of her life could be attributed to her background, as Norway is a small country of around 5 million people, all of whom appear to know each other. She responded with raised eyebrow to the remark that a lot of famous Norwegians were explorers perhaps keen to get away, that natural inquisitiveness and a thirst for knowledge were natural traits in Norway.

Moving to England in March 1969 to improve her English, she met Nigel within two days of arriving and two years later they were married, spending the next 41 years together. Quickly mastering the English language, Kristina was never slow to demonstrate her skill and quick to correct any English friends efforts to pronounce her native tongue. She had many interests in her life and did much work to benefit others. She was a UNESCO Volunteer Leader for Childrens' International Summer Villages both in the USA and Europe. She was an active member of various groups in Piddletrenthide (Garden Club, Book Club, Memorial Hall Committee, Cycle Club treasurer), ran the Cubs and was the first female assistant Scout Leader in the country. A leading light in the Twinning Group together with Nigel, made many friends in Normandy.

Early in 2012 Kristina and friends completed the marathon charity walk in London in aid of Breast Cancer. Kristina's love of dining resulted in unusual dinner parties with delights such as elk, horse and reindeer on the menu; she was incredibly creative with a bubbly personality. She once beat the Spanish Junior Chess Champion not knowing how to play the game but winning with purely random moves.


Joan Hunt (1918-2012)

Joan Hunt could truly claim to be 'Piddletrenthide born and bred'. Born on Twelfth Night 1918, to parents, Charles and Elizabeth who were living with son George in Kirby Cottages, Joan was educated at the village school. According to her contemporaries, she was a very bright pupil, and aged eleven won a coveted County Scholarship to the Grammar School in Dorchester. Alas without transport to get there, and whilst local boys in a similar position could cycle, Joan had to content herself with continuing at the village school, with the intention of becoming a pupil teacher. Unfortunately the scheme folded and Joan's parents weren't able to make provision for her to travel to Salisbury to further her education at the teacher-training college, so she was obliged to leave school without formal qualifications and her wish to teach was never fulfilled. On leaving school she worked at the Vicarage, looking after the young daughters of the Rev Boyer, who still remember her with great affection. With the outbreak of WWII Joan signed up to the ATS and was sent for training in Carlisle; here she was finally able to take exams and soon promoted to sergeant, with the chance of an overseas commission once the war had ended but Joan's wish was to return to her family and the village she loved. She soon found work in the next door Post Office where she remained for ten years, only leaving to nurse her sick mother. Later working in Herrison Hospital's Occupational Therapy Department.

Joan took a lively interest in local and national affairs through her love of reading the daily paper and books provided by the Mobile Library; she completed at least two crossword puzzles a day, joined many village clubs including the pre-war 'Social Club' three nights a week, local dances, village shows and whist drives. With Win Blake, Phil Hawker and sister-in-law Stella Hunt (known as the Lavender Hill Mob) she visited National Trust houses, theatres and gardens.

In 1953, Joan travelled to London for the Coronation and sat on the pavement all night, for a prime viewing spot. This year she didn't have to travel so far to see the Queen. Following her move to The Hayes Residential home in Sherborne, she was presented to Her Majesty at a reception there which she described as the most exciting day of her life. Her many friends will miss the ready kindness and wicked sense of humour, which stayed with her to the end.


Joan Jeanes (1927-2012)

Born at Troytown near Puddletown, the eighth of the nine children of William (Bill) Diment and Louisa, Joan's first-name was Violet, which she hated. She grew up in Stratton and later while working at Woolworths she met and married the tall, handsome Charlie Jeanes, who also seemed to dislike his given name and was always called Pete! In 1948 they moved to the brand-new 7 South View at White Lackington, the envy of many as they had bathrooms and indoor flush lavatories, and instantly made friends with their neighbours Pat and Doug Riggs. Soon they had their two boys, Owen and Barry, supplemented at times by a succession of children from the East End of London who came for a holiday in the country but seemed to stay for months.

Joan liked to be busy. Secretary of Piddletrenthide WI, helping the Saunders family of Waterston and Wrights at nearby Waterways where she enjoyed babysitting Liz and Mary, and much later as home-help for the Gordons in Piddletrenthide; waitress at the Brace of Pheasants, working nights at the Dorchester Cheshire Homes, and when the boys grew up, working full time for Millers the pie-makers at Poole. Family was everything, especially grandchildren Simon and Philippa, Hannah and Daniel. In 1997 Joan and Pete celebrated their Golden Wedding but sadly Pete died two years later. Moving to Wightmans Orchard she enthusiastically joined in the many activities there. During the last days of her life she seemed to believe, perhaps know, that after a separation of 13 years, she would soon be reunited with her beloved Pete.


Tony Downton (1945-2012)

Many houses and businesses in the valley bear testament to the skill of Tony Downton, variously described as a carpenter, joiner, builder, someone who could turn his hand to almost anything. Dorchester-born, the second of four sons, he attended schools at Hazelbury Bryan and Sturminster Newton. His first employment was for Harold Mears at Melcombe Bingham, then A. Parsons and Sons for whom he worked at the former Piddlehinton army camp for six years. In 1972 he became self-employed and with partners Alan, Paul and Jimmy, worked on several village properties, Plush cricket pavilion and the bar in the Piddle Inn being just two of the many, and even found time to make improvements to the appearance of his own house at Riverside, opposite today's valley school. Tony and wife June met at Sturminster carnival in 1966, married in 1968 and lived in Piddletrenthide for 42 years, where they brought up their daughters Tracey and Jane and doted on grandchildren Harry, Emma, and Ben. Tony even found spare time to support Manchester United and manage Piddletrenthide FC, play cricket for Plush and assist at Point-to-Point. He became ill in June 2012 and sadly passed away in the care of the Joseph Weld Hospice on 19 October.


David Christophers (1943 - 2012) - A Ringing Tribute

David Christophers died on Snowdrop Sunday after a short illness. He was a church bell ringer and Tower Captain, having been taught by his father when he was a youngster living in Bickington, Devon. Suzanne, David and their family lived in Piddlehinton for 33 years and he had regularly rung the bells at St Mary's Church, Piddlehinton. He passed the skill on to his own sons, and he, Ashley and Simon had rung together on occasions. At David's funeral on 16th February in Piddlehinton, bells were rung "half muffled", remembering their Tower Captain, Churchwarden and organist for many years.

David was also a member of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers, represented at his funeral by the Dorchester Branch Chairman, Janet Ranger, along with members of churches at Fordington, Charminster and Puddletown. A "band" was organised to ring before and after the service, and as is customary for funerals the leather shoes/cups strapped to one side of the clappers in the bells so that a "dull thud strike" alternated with a "normal bell tone strike". With six bells at Piddlehinton Church, eight ringers took turns before the Service, ringing "call changes" and a Method called 'Grandsire'. Respect for David was such that at the end of the Service the old tradition of striking the age of the deceased was upheld, with Richard Ellis (who had rung with David for many years) tolling the Tenor (heaviest bell) 69 times, which was immediately followed by the Treble (lightest bell) and the other bells ringing "rounds". This was truly fitting and special way for David's friends to pay tribute to him, and honour his memory and a lifetime's service to the Church.

A Quarter Peal was rung in his memory, a week after his funeral, on Thursday 23rd February at the same church. The Method, 'Grandsire Doubles', his favourite, was rung in 46 minutes.

The Christophers family wish to give thanks for the support they have received, particularly from Revd Jane Culliford of West Stafford and Revd Tony Monds of Piddle Valley.

On 24th August Simon Christophers starts a four day walk along 90 miles of the Dorset Coastal Path to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity in memory of his father. The sponsorship opportunity is on www.justgiving.com/simonchristophers or you can text UHLR98 followed by the amount to 70070.

Suzanne Christophers


Monica Lambert 1933-2011

Monica was born at Colchester Garrison Hospital to Company Sergeant Major David Brown and his wife, Doris. She became the regimental mascot as the first baby to be born in the hospital, attending regimental parades in her pram, whence her lifelong love of military music. Come the war, her mother, and sister Malyn, moved into London, while father survived the fighting in Africa and Italy. She excelled at her convent school although classrooms would ring to the shout "Monica Brown stand up" whenever there was trouble, redeemed by her playing the piano for morning prayers!

Always energetic, uncharacteristically when aged 20 she almost didn't attend an event at Colchester Officers' Club but mother persuaded her. That night she met a dashing young army officer in full uniform who immediately fell for her. On their second date, John Lambert arrived in his old Bullnose Morris car and asked her to marry him. He kept trying and they married in Colchester in 1955.

Home was Virginia Water, Surrey, in the same road as John's sister Pam and husband Leslie. Their children Joanna and Caroline were born there and soon home became a playgroup for the rest of the street, where Monica demonstrated that she would have made an excellent if slightly unorthodox teacher! In 1967 they moved with John's job to Hythe, Kent and in 1979 another career-move led to a derelict mill in Piddletrenthide, which John transformed into an attractive family house, with Monica converting the garden.

A talented tennis player, Monica was instrumental in the formation of the valley club, joined the Gardens Club and made many friends, notably near neighbours Mike and Sally Howard-Tripp. She was a receptionist at Cerne Abbas Surgery and active in country life for some 20 years until declining health meant a move to Dorchester and later to Weymouth.

Her family supplied the best description of her on the cake to mark Monica and John's silver wedding; "Never a Dull Moment".

Colin Dean


Alan Gerald Read (1927 - 2011)

Alan was the second of seven children born to Arthur and Madeline Read who farmed at Gussage St Michael, so from an early age he was used to helping with chickens, cattle, pigs, crops and machinery. WW2 interrupted his education at Blandford grammar school but he became very proficient in building anything required on the farm or in the house, maintaining and repairing machinery and raising good quality livestock and crops.

In 1951 he married school-friend Ruth Gill and they would have daughters Gillian, twins Judith and Rosemary, then Nicola. In 1960 the family moved to Hanford near Shillingstone where Alan managed a 720 acre farm, much bigger than the family farm! In 1964 they moved to Piddlehinton's Bourne Farm to work for the rapidly-expanding Hanford Farms, where he stayed until retirement in 1992. He earned the respect of his colleagues by never asking them to do something he wouldn't do himself (except typing!) and was very proud to be part of one of the most progressive agricultural businesses in the country.

Alan served the local community for some fifteen years as parish and district councillor and even after retirement attended parish council meetings until September 2011. His love of Dorset led to membership of the Society of Dorset Men, he also served as President of PROBUS, the organisation for retired professional and businessmen. He kept his links with the British Association of Crop Growers, begun when Hanford's installed a grass drier at Bourne Farm, attending meetings in London and Europe.

Alan loved life at Dales Corner, Piddlehinton, conquering typing, becoming computer-literate and writing a fascinating memoir of his farming life for his children and grandchildren. The family thanks everyone for their lovely letters and memories of Alan, and their donations to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and the Cardiac and Stroke units at Dorset county hospital where Alan received such good care.

Colin Dean


Douglas Smith 1931 - 2011

Doug was born at March in Cambridgeshire, the eldest of three brothers and one sister. His father was an agricultural HGV driver and the family lived in a cottage tied to his work. He left March school at 14 to work on the farm, interrupted by National Service in the Royal Artillery during which he earned his HGV driving licence, in Nicosia, the first time he had left England.

After National Service, Doug settled down to family life and Sandra and Beverley were born. Now he was qualified to drive lorries for a living, first on the farm, then 28 years for his brother Dudley's haulage business, and 12 more years for a large operator near Wisbech. It was a hard life, very long hours, getting up in the early hours to take loads to London, to Wales or the North of England.

He loved to be with his family and every weekend they would go into town shopping on a Saturday and out for a trip every Sunday, Doug driving; he hated being driven!

When Doug found himself on his own again, his daughter, Sandra persuaded him to go on a blind date with his brother, Dudley, his sister-in-law Pat, daughter Sandra, and a lady called Eileen who Dudley knew through work. They all met at the Polgate Inn near Swaffham, it was love at first sight and Doug and Eileen married in 1983. As well as his own two daughters, Doug took on Eileen's three sons whom he treated as his own. He also took on Eileen's mother who lived with her at the time.

On retirement, Doug agreed to move from the flat and tree-less Cambridgeshire to Eileen's native Dorset, with its rolling hillsides, woodlands and hedgerows, settling at Wightmans Orchard in 1995. There Doug spent time gardening, playing bingo, shopping for neighbours who could not get out so easily, in fact helping anyone he could. He enjoyed beating on the Alton Pancras shoot where latterly he drove the beaters' wagon.

When illness struck a year or so back, he was hugely appreciative of the care he received, especially from Dr Dobbs. "I couldn't have had better if I had been a millionaire" he said. He resisted extending his chemotherapy, preferring the quality of his time with Eileen, his daughters, sons, grand and great-grandchildren rather than the length. Doug was a popular and contented man, who will be missed enormously but remembered with great affection.


Stafford James Hammett 1922 - 2011

Stafford was born in Exeter and was educated at Shebbear College, North Devon, a Methodist School, where his love of music, particularly organ music, was born and where he sang with the School Choir.

In the Home Guard, he witnessed the Air Raid destruction of large parts of Exeter. From there he joined the Navy as a seaman gunner on a Destroyer on convoy duty out of Scapa Flow. Once commissioned (and skipping quickly past his accidental collision with an anchored vessel off the Isle of Wight), he became commander of his first ship aged just 21, a landing craft used in the Normandy landings in 1944, taking Canadian Engineers and tanks to clear mines from Juno Beach. Promotion to full Lieutenant on a Gunboat with a crew of 28 seaman and marines soon followed. His love of the sea remained with him and family holidays with four disparate children, Stafford's Sally and Mandy, Audrey's Patricia and Gordon, always involved some seaside adventure, from rough sea crossings to perilous dinghy sailings. He was a sanguine commander and soon had his motley crew licked into shape!Much later in life, when faced with increasing debility brought about by his long battle with lung cancer, he liked nothing better than a drive by the sea.

1947 saw the start of a career in marketing and sales at Communication Systems worldwide, with East Africa and the Far East his early stamping grounds, later joining Rank Xerox at the beginning of the office technology revolution in the UK where his skill won him numerous awards and prizes. He also had a fascination with kitchen and domestic gadgets and his retirement ahead of his wife, Audrey, gave him the opportunity to make ample use of these! It was at this point he honed his cooking skills, and in particular enjoyed making puddings (his specialities were junkets and pavlovas). He was also keen on photography and cine filming and has a substantial collection of slides and films from his days abroad.

Cricket was another interest; from early prep school success onwards, as an opening batsman, he loved that most English of games: its team ethic, its test of character, its ebb and flow. It was the opener's typical qualities of patience, courage, steadfastness and balanced judgement that he espoused in life beyond the pitch that were to serve the family so well through its upsand- downs.

In 1984, Stafford and Audrey moved from Layer Breton in Essex to Dorset, settling in Plush. Stafford was always most appreciative of the care he received both from Cerne Abbas Surgery and the Dorchester and Poole Hospitals during his illness, and the family would like to add their thanks to his. Our grateful thanks too, for the many warm messages of condolence that we have been sent. He is much missed.


Raymond Hollesley Coverdale 1933 - 2011

Born in Dulwich, London on 24th September 1933 to parents Arthur and Grace Coverdale, Ray was the eldest by some margin to his siblings Vivien and Jeffery. He was a member of Emmanuel Church choir, Youth club and the local scout group and badminton club.

In 1959 Ray married Stella, whom he had known all of his life. Their married life started in Worcester Park, Surrey where they were committed to St Phillips Church and their children Graham, Colette and Barry were born. Much later the family grew with the arrival of spouses and grandchildren, Aiden, Ryan and Matthew.

Following one too many letter bombs at work at Victoria postal sorting office Ray and Stella took the opportunity of living the dream and moving to the countryside, thus arriving at the Post Office in Piddletrenthide. They became involved with Alton St Pancras church, with Ray being on the PCC for some 35 years. He also helped with cubs, scouts, and a youth badminton club.

On moving to Broadmayne some 13 years ago Ray became involved with St Martins Church, using his practical skills to help re-point the church boundary wall along with some like-minded parishioners who became firm friends.

Badminton remained his greatest sporting love. During illness his driving force was to play another game of badminton. Ray was known for his 'can do' attitude, always having some project in hand, both at home and for others. Despite ill-health for some 22 years, his aim was to live life to the full and enjoy his time, not sit around waiting for life to happen.

Ray died on 31st May 2011 and Stella and family would like to thank everybody who attended his service and for the many cards, letters and prayers received at this sad time.


Peter Frederick Clayton 1922 - 2011

Extracts from the eulogy by his son Charles

Peter was born Richmond, Surrey, joined the RAF from school and went straight off to war, to flying training in Florida and then into the fray aged 20. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) during his first tour of duty, in which he survived 48 missions with 97 Squadron. Then came a ninemonth break as a pilot instructor before returning to the fray with 156 Squadron, completing a further 36 successful missions as Squadron Leader and being awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

From war he returned to study and won his degree in electrical engineering at Corpus Christie, Cambridge. Active on many fronts, he was captain of St Georges Hill, Weybridge squash club, where he met Charles' mother Sally. They married in 1960 and had four children, three of whom, Charles, Louise and David, attended the funeral. Mark, the fourth, died as a toddler. Peter created and ran his own business, Thames Flooring, was an avid Freemason and Master of his Lodge. In 1981 he married Jane and extended the Clayton clan, moving to Piddletrenthide. As he grew older he was proud to be Warden of the Church Keys.

Peter's enthusiasm produced varied results. An excellent pilot, he wasn't all that good at smooth landings and was once recorded as having landed three times, at one-minute intervals, bouncing down the runway. He played squash enthusiastically enough to land up in A&E on Christmas Day when his forceful backhand stroke split his chin! A keen gardener with a wide range of tools, while using a 'flamethrower' to clear weeds he accidentally ignited the hedge - and the neighbour's garden shed behind it. It contained petrol cans and the fire brigade arrived just in time for the explosions!

Be proud of your legacy. Rest in peace.


Angela Drewe 1944 - 2011

Angela was born and grew up in Bude, Cornwall, and attended Bude Grammar School before training to be a Maths teacher. While at college in London she met and married Richard.

In 1969 Richard joined the Army and for the next 18 years the family lived in various parts of England and West Germany. Martin, Sally and Isabel were born in quick succession and the family was enjoying life in Verden near the East German border when Angela was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Angela underwent major surgery in London but was determined to live a full and active life. As well as raising the children she was a marvellous support to Richard in his Army career and when the children were old enough, returned to teaching in Germany, in London, and finally in Dorset.

Angela was Head of Maths at St Mary's School Puddletown for 16 years, and entered fully into the life of the school - enjoying hockey, skiing trips, French trips and activity weeks. She was an inspirational Maths teacher, never too busy to explain something to the children or to give non-specialist teachers the confidence to teach Maths with enjoyment. In her retirement she loved meeting her former pupils and hearing about their lives.

As well as her teaching commitments Angela managed to raise her children, work tirelessly with Richard in renovating the family home and gardens, keeping a flock of sheep and looking after the horses.

Sadly, about 11 years ago, after experiencing problems whilst skiing, Angela was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and decided to retire. However, she continued to live life to the full. She was a founder member and Chair of the tennis club, one of the Piddlehinton book authors, a bellringer, played badminton, enjoyed country dancing and was a regular member of the ladies swimming and bridge groups. She also developed her lifelong interest in archaeology. She loved walking her dogs and enjoyed accompanying Richard to horse racing meetings. She was able to enjoy wonderful holidays and to keep her brain active she became an expert in brain puzzles and completed OU courses in Ancient Greek and Latin with flying colours.

Angela courageously battled against the increasing effects of Parkinson's but then about five years ago was told that her cancer had returned. Despite this she refused to let it get the better of her but preferred to concentrate on seeing as much as she could of her children and grandchildren, and enjoying regular outings with family and friends.

She continued to try to help others, supporting Martin, Sally and Isabel when they each ran the London Marathon to raise funds for Parkinson's UK and on a magnificent day last June, when with the help of some very good friends, organised cream teas in the garden in aid of the same charity. This theme continued to the end when she donated her brain to Imperial College, London, for research into the disease.

The family would like to thank all those concerned for the excellent care which Angela received from the Cerne Abbas Surgery, the Dorset and Poole Hospitals, the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust and Marie Curie Cancer Care, and to thank everyone for the many letters, cards and tributes to Angela.


Hazel Maud Wyatt (nee Rowlands) 1922 - 2011

A family tribute from her niece Sally Allen

Aunt Hazel was born at Hazelbury Bryan, the second of four children, went to the local school and when she progressed to Blandford Grammar School she would stay with her grandmother at Sturminster Newton and catch the train to and from school, going home at week-ends. Her first job was as secretary/book-keeper at Pond's agricultural merchants. She met her husband, my uncle Herbert, at a Saturday night dance at Hazelbury village hall, the internet-dating site of the day! They married in 1944 and moved to Cannings Court at Pulham where he was farming. She was very supportive on the farm, doing the record-keeping of course, looking after hens, pigs and lambs and walking out to the men in the fields with sandwiches and homemade lemonade at harvest time.

They were very proud of their daughters Rachel and Jacqueline and my brother and I spent most of our holidays with them at Cannings Court, being treated as part of the family.

Following her husband's death on 31st December 1968, the family moved to Rockpitts at Plush, and lived in one of the cottages until the farmhouse was built. Jacqui and Rachel were married from there and my aunt adjusted to life by joining the WI and other local clubs. She had failed her driving test when young but always seemed to be offered lifts by friends, or by taxi. As was her way, her twice-weekly trips to Dorchester on the bus led to even more friendships and she went on holidays with some of her 'bus friends'. Her family extended with two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and she was proud of all her family's achievements.

Family and friends were very important to her. She was a very special lady, sadly missed.


John Hawker (1944-2011)

John was born in Piddletrenthide, the only son of Wilfred and Matilda (known as Phyllis), attended the village school, then on to the 'big school' at Buckland Newton. For the next 30 years he worked for David Wightman at Bellamy's farm, married Ann from Godmanstone in 1968 and set up home at Meadow View, which nowadays looks across to the valley's school. Home comprised John and Ann's children Andrew, David and Jo, affectionately known as Porky, Dip and Fuss respectively, and Ann's father.

They moved to Waterfall Nook cottage, formerly known as The Retreat, close to the Memorial Hall in 1989 and John worked for Evans and Pearce at Trent near Sherborne as a crop specialist for 13 years. In 1996 he had a freak accident, causing him to lose sight in one eye, which meant losing his HGV Class 1 licence.

John was later employed by Nigel Powell at Middlemarsh Saw Mills and finally Camelco at Milborne St Andrew. He enjoyed working with wood and was good at DIY and repairing engines, as well as gardening and fishing, and in Robert White's words "he had a real passion for agriculture and the countryside that shone through in all that he did and said."

Ann Hawker and family would like to thank everyone for their letters and cards, the care and kindness of the Rev. Tony Monds, to Sue Beckingham and her team of helpers, to all who attended the crematorium and those who made donations to John's chosen local causes, the Air Ambulance, RNLI and Cerne Abbas surgery.

"For me as a child growing up there is hardly a memory of the Evans and Pearce company that does not contain John in some form, whether him lying underneath a broken seed cleaner covered in dust, hammer in hand, or perched on his favourite milk churn in the rest room telling of the latest exploits of his beloved family; time spent with John was always entertaining. The greatest testament to John is the fact that of all people that have worked for this company over the years, the only one that the customers ask after is John. He was highly regarded by customers and work colleagues alike. I am glad that I had the chance to work with him and learn from his huge knowledge."

Robert White, Evans & Pearce