In Memory
Community Spirit ~ Remembrance!








East Barkwith said a sad but fond farewell to Grace Clark in late Feb, at a service led by Rev'd Chris Harrington. She was born at Benniworth on 24th July 1930 and attended Donington on Bain primary school until the age of 12 years. At that time she had a paper round and did shopping for the elderly residents to earn a few pennies. She went into service for the Olivant family where she met the love of her life John Clark. They married in 1951 and set up home at Panton.

In 1960 they bought their forever home in East Barkwith. there they worked hard rearing livestock, with empolyment in the local area too, supporting their family of 5 children. Grace helped many people within the village   throughout her life and took part in all aspects of community spirit. She was a lovely lady who will be sadly missed by her family and many friends, but we celebrated her life which she lived to the full.


The village of South Willingham said a sad but fond farewell to Alice Bray recently. She was born on 5th January 1922 in Legsby. Her family moved to Corner Farm from Poplar Farm Cottage when she was 13yrs old. At 15, Alice lived in at Hainton Hall as a parlour maid. During the war, Alice worked at the Bardney canning factory. In 1948, Alice married Harold Bray after meeting whilst waiting to catch the bus home in Louth Town Centre. They lived in a cottage in the village and after the death of Alice's father, the couple moved to Corner Farm where they ran a dairy farm. They had son Alan and daughter Margaret. Alice died on 25 th November 2023 aged 100 – a long life, lived well.



July 1938-August 2023

Lea Fields Crematorium, Gainsborough, was packed on Tuesday 12th September for the funeral of Myrtle , 85, who lived in Middle Rasen first on Church Street then Low Church Road before moving to Tealby to be nearer her daughter. Myrtle will be remembered, along with her late husband, George, for their astonishing work at Lynwode Manor, Linwood where they fostered over 17 children as part of ‘The Children's Family Trust', providing for them all a family for life.

Almost all of this remarkable family were present to say their farewells and give thanks for “the best mother ever”. Grandchildren laid flowers and butterflies on the coffin, a poem was written and read, tributes flowed both prepared and spontaneous from family members and friends. Myrtle was thanked and praised by senior members of The Children's Family Trust. During a time of reflection Verity Steele(niece) played Salut d' Amour and granddaughter, Emily Shilling read 1 Cor 13:4-7. Celebrant, Paul Hiley, (who had known Myrtle and George for 47 years during which time they were much loved members of Market Rasen New Life Church) said that love was the key to Myrtle's life. “She was patient, she was kind, not easily angered, never rude, not self-seeking and never keeping a record of wrongs, always rejoicing with the truth, protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering.” As a result, she was loved by all who knew her.

CFT chaplain, John Glover, said of Myrtle: “Rest in Peace and rise in glory”.

Donations were received for The Children's Family Trust and Marie Curie Care and a reception was held at the New Life Church Centre, Serpentine Street.

Paul Hiley


Frances was born at Willerby near Alford on 5 th July 1936.

Frances Picksley

She moved to Toft Newton when she was 5 years old. Frances attended Caistor Grammar School until she was 16, then she went to work for the Midland bank in Market Rasen. In February 1957 Alan and Frances got married – they lived happily in Middle Rasen for 66 years and 4 months.

Whilst living in Market Rasen, Frances worked hard within the community. She sold poppies for the Royal British Legion, she collected for the Children's society and raised money for the RNLI and for years she cooked meals for the village senior citizens at the Methodist Chapel. Until relatively recently, the residents of Middle Rasen would regularly see Frances walking her little dog around the village with a plastic bag and litter-picking tool, picking up any litter she saw along her walk.

Sadly, Frances passed away on 28 th June 2023 at the age of 86. She will be sadly missed by us all.

Julia Weeks Sept 23

Elaine Jennings

As most of you will know by now, Elaine sadly passed away at home on Friday 10th February after a short illness.

Elaine Jennings

Elaine was born in Camberwell in 1948. She was one of 3 girls and went to school in South London, she then worked in the City until she married Gordon in 1967. Elaine and Gordon were blessed with 4 children, Graham, Duncan, Matthew and Thirzah. The family moved to Lissington from Honor Oak in London in 1983 and then to Middle Rasen in 1987.

Elaine was a well-known lady within the area - she may be known to you as the lady who had China Choice in Market Rasen or as the lady who was involved with setting up and running the Rainbows section of the Girl Guides in Middle Rasen. She was a supporter of and a regular worshipper at St Peter & St Paul's Church. In 2012, she & Gordon were involved with the twinning between Middle Rasen Parish and Koekelare Parish in Belgium - a memorable weekend, talked about for many years!

We all loved Elaine, she was a kind, gentle, loving lady whose humour was infectious - we enjoyed spending just a few moments in her company. She was always keen to hear all your news and would share in those moments of sadness and joy. She was so proud of her lovely family and was always delighted by her grandchildren. She had endless patience and always saw the good in everyone.

Elaine's funeral was held in her Church, St Peter & St Paul's, Middle Rasen. It was her wish to be buried in the Churchyard where the sounds of the children at play could be clearly heard. She wanted us to celebrate her life and asked that those attending wear bright clothes.

Elaine, we all love you, we will miss your smile, your warmth, your love and your kindness, but we will hold your memory close. Thank You for all you have done to make our lives that little bit better. Our love and thoughts are with Gordon and all of Elaine's family.

Julia Weeks Feb 2023

Liz Margrave

We were all really saddened to hear recently that our lovely Liz Margrave Liz Margrave had passed away. Liz had been the Community Spirit cook and recipe maker for many, many years. She had recently made the difficult decision to sell her lovely cottage and move into residential care. She was very excited about moving and was looking forward to a much easier lifestyle. Sadly, this wasn't to be and after a short illness requiring a spell in hospital, Liz passed away. We will always be grateful to her for her commitment to our magazine, for the delicious recipes and her support. We will all really miss her. Rest in peace, Liz.

Julia Weeks 2021

read ...........In the Kitchen with Liz

In memory of Liz Margrave  a beautiful bench has recently been delivered and fixed in place in the Methodist Church grounds, Middle Rasen, by the Niece and Nephew of Liz Margrave, in her memory. She loved spending time in the Church, so is a very fitting tribute to her.


Miss Joanna Dorothy Price 1923 - 2021

Jo Price, was born' on 18th of September 1923 in Didsbury to William and Dorothy Price.

She was known as a 'bit of a character', a lady with many interests. These included spending holidays on her trusty bicycle, originally accompanied by her father travelling around Devon and Cornwall. That bicycle was still in her possession at time of her death, so it must be over 80 years old.

Jo Price served in the ATS during WWII in Shropshire and always relates to her experiencesMiss Price as happy ones. While serving, she learned a great deal about vehicles and would still tinker with her car while she lived in Middle Rasen. After the war, Jo became a shorthand/typist and joined British Engine. She retired early to look after her mother, but took part-time jobs after her mother's death until, at the young age of 77, she decided to move from the home she was brought up in and go on an adventure.

Jo had thought of Norfolk as she had visited Wells Next Sea many times or perhaps Cornwall where she had happy cycling memories of her father. In a twist of fate, a friend had given her a calendar of rural scenes in England, and one stood out — the view of the hiker's church at Walesby. Jo visited Market Rasen several times to look at properties and decided on her home in Middle Rasen.

She had a great love of the garden and spend hours outside — she was in her element. Of course, she loved nature, and this included the hedgehogs she fed and provided with shelter. Her other love was her cats. Two cats had accompanied her from Manchester, and they were joined within a year by a stray who had slid in through the cat flap and made himself at home. Frisby was her constant companion until earlier this year.

Jo's great grandfather lived in Norfolk and was a coachman for Charles Darwin. Over her lifetime, she visited many European countries investigating the family links to the Huguenots. While Jo was living in Middle Rasen, she visited Paris on her own.

One of the things Jo used to do was go on 'horse holidays.' She would go south for riding holidays and liked to keep fit. Jo was quite a sassy lady who loved her animals and couldn't get enough of her garden. Some described her as being able to 'talk the hind legs of a donkey.' Her friend Maggie met her when she helped Jo look for her cat, and then fed the cat when Jo went into the hospital for appendicitis. Jo did not enjoy baking but did enjoy 'pulling people's legs.'

Jo was also forthright person and would speak her mind. Many neighbours will miss this straight forward and most interesting person. (Nov 21)



Joan Fisk November is a month of remembrance, a time when we remember all those who have fought and died for their country. It is also a poignant month in which to remember our departed friends and family.

Recently one of my dear friends and a well-known lady within the Middle Rasen Community, Joan Fiske, peacefully passed away after a short illness. Joan was a wonderfully friendly lady who always had a smile on her face and a good word to say to everyone.

For years, she and her husband, Cyril, would bring toys back from their trips abroad and would donate them to the Church to distribute to the local children. Joan loved life, despite her disabilities and truly loved her devoted husband, Cyril. She would regale stories about her past, about the parents and grandparents who she had clearly adored and would spend hours talking about her beloved dogs! She loved to sing and was trying to teach everyone she met the words to various Dame Vera Lynn songs – especially the White Cliffs of Dover! Joan was word perfect! Me, not so!!!

Our love and thoughts are with Cyril! Joan, We will all really miss you! Julia Weeks


Joan Franklin

25 th March 1954 – 11 th February 2021

It was with great sadness that we learned about the passing of Joan. She and Keith came to Middle Rasen Church in the mid 1990's and soon became very active members of our Church community. Joan sang in the Church choir and Keith served at the alter. When Middle Rasen Church decided to make kneelers to make the Church more comfortable, Joan was heavily involved! She was a talented knitter and needlewoman. Her efforts are still in regular use within the Church!

Some years ago, Joan, Keith and 5 other members of the Church congregation joined Rev. Chris Lilley in a pilgrimage to the Passion play at Oberammergau. This trip was really enjoyed by Joan and was often talked about – a truly memorable experience!

On her return, Joan organised a group to make a pew runner for the choir pew based on the pilgrimage; she then followed this up with 2 further runners based on 2 well known hymns - “Lord Jesus Christ” and “Be Still And Know That I Am God”. These runners are still in use in the Church today!

When the Church found itself without an organist, Joan said she would try her best, having only played the piano some years earlier. She said she would play if her feet could reach the pedals!

Joan made so many friends during her time at Middle Rasen Church, she was much loved and we all mourn her passing and will always remember her love, kindness, generosity and beautiful smile!


Wilfred Hankins 1924 - 2020

The village lost one of its true characters on December 1 st 2020 with the passing of Wilf Hankins. Wilf was born on 14th May 1924 in Osgodby – weighing in at an incredible 14 lbs! He was one of 4 brothers and had an older sister, Doris, who still survives him today. He married Vera at Middle Rasen chapel in 1950. They went on to have a daughter, Rita and a son, Brian.

Wilf left school at 15 and started work at Alfred Naylor's farm. He turned his hand to everything on the farm – tractor driver, hedge cutter, crawler driver, lorry driver, combine driver – you name it he could do it! He was an expert plougher and judged at many ploughing matches. Brian remembers going on early morning trips to Seaton Ross and Sheffield market taking corn and potatoes. Wilf would come back with fruit and veg from the market, which he sold to relatives and people in the village. He completed 50 years service before retiring at 65. Princess Anne presented him with a long service award at the Lincolnshire Show, something he was immensely proud of! He also kept pigs, breeding them and selling them on at market. Some of the pigs were won at skittles from the many garden fetes that were held at the time! Wilf was very good at skittles, having a very unusual action throwing the cheese and kicking his leg in the air!

Wilf certainly had a great sense of humour, with a hint of mischief! One day before a Middle Rasen fete he and Alan Bennett dressed up as women to enter the fancy dress. He then went into the shop and asked Mrs Atton for sweets to put on account, She didn't recognise him and politely told him “I'm sorry madam you don't have an account with us!”

After retiring from the farm everyone thought he would take it easy, but nothing could have been further from the truth. The garden was always a place where Wilf spent lots of time and the flower displays at FieldView and later at the bungalow were viewed and admired by everyone. He was also a dab hand at growing vegetables. People would come from far and wide to buy his leek plants, and he also liked to show his produce at the village horticultural show. Wilf also helped at the Market Rasen Market. Every Tuesday he would be up at the crack of dawn to help them set up. He enjoyed the camaraderie and buzz of the market, and meeting new friends there. He loved dealing and bartering for a rock bottom price. He also liked buying and selling second hand bikes and doing bike repairs for the locals.

Wilf loved football and when he was a fit young man enjoyed playing and was known as the wizard on the wing. He supported Grimsby Town and for many years attended all the home matches at Blundell Park. When he could no longer attend, he still followed them on the radio and every Saturday at 3pm the radio would be on at full blast with the TV on the text page watching the results come in.

Wilf was Chapel steward for many years and always made new comers welcome. He also served as Treasurer, and kept the Chapel garden very tidy. He did not save his religion just for Chapel, but also spent time visiting the sick, lonely or elderly at home or in a care home or hospital.

Wilf and Vera have always been a pillar of strength in the community and in April 2020 celebrated 70 years of married life together. It was a goal he had lived for and an incredible achievement.

Wilf's last wish was to go to his resting place by tractor and trailer, and thanks must go to Stephen Naylor and John Clarke for making this happen and to all the local people that turned out on the day giving their support.

Wilf was a special man with a big heart and an infectious smile, whose kindness to others and generosity shone through. One of his favourite sayings was “stay cool, calm and collected. Remember to always wear a smile and always look on the bright side of life”. Brian Hankins


Charles Mallinson 

It was with great sadness that Newton learned of the passing of Charles Mallinson, affectionately known as “Charlie Chickens”. Charlie passed away in Lincoln County Hospital on the 19th Dec. For the last year he had been battling lung cancer, whilst also caring for his beloved Laura who had suffered a stroke 2 years earlier. Laura went into a care home for the last few months of Charlie's treatment and should have returned home in time for Christmas, but Charlie was suddenly taken away from us a few days before Laura returned home.

Charlie and Laura moved to Hilltop from their native Halifax in the summer of 2012. Charlie and my husband Peter soon became close friends and it was not long before Charlie began helping Peter to maintain the Church grounds, something that Charlie kept up with after we moved from Newton over 4 years ago! The members of St Michael's and the villagers are forever indebted to him for keeping the Church grounds looking so beautiful. Charlie also chopped trees, dug foundations for the new entrance to the church and serviced the Church tractor mower. Indeed Charlie was always ready to help anyone out, always with a laugh and a joke; nothing was too much trouble for him!

His nickname  “Charlie Chickens” was given to him by my grandson William, a name that stuck with him long after the demise of his chickens; he was then known affectionately as “Charlie no Chickens!”

I had a great affinity with both Charlie and Laura as I was also born and bred in Halifax. We discovered we had great deal in common and understood the wit of a ‘dry Yorkshireman!' His departure leaves a great void in all of our lives.

I would like to finish with one of Charlie's favourite goodbye comments, which seems extremely apt for the current times we are living in:

“If I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through the window”.

God bless you Charlie, Rest in Peace.

Frances Wood (Jan21)

June Mary Hare 1937 – 2020

It was with great sadness that we learned at the end of October of the passing of June Hare. She was born into a loving home in Wolverhampton and always attended Sunday School as a child. Later on, as a teenager, whilst attending Bible Study House Fellowship, she met Richard, her first husband. They had two boys Michael and Philip. Sadly, Philip passed away from cancer when he was 52.

June was always good at Maths and worked at the TSB Bank until her marriage. The couple travelled to Zimbabwe when Richard was offered a job out there, so Michael spent part of his very early life there. They returned to England where Philiip was born. Sadly, June and Richard decided to separate, which ended in divorce. June found comfort and friendship in another church, where her faith grew through their friendship, fellowship and Ministry. She returned to work after qualifying and joined a Life Assurance Company.

She remarried in 1979 and enjoyed 35 wonderful years with Colin, whom she married at Market Rasen Methodist Church. Her marriage necessitated moving to Market Rasen, where Colin had his own accountancy business, which June was able to help him with. In addition to Michael and Philip, June ‘inherited' three stepchildren – Andrew, Katie and Robert to whom she became very close. She has 4 grandchildren, Philip's daughter and three step-grandchildren.

Colin helped with the young people at Market Rasen Methodist Church, so June soon got roped in to help! After spending some years in Market Rasen they moved to Middle Rasen (near the Gallamore junction.) They eventually made the decision to attend the Methodist Church in Middle Rasen, where once again, June was always ready to help whenever she could. She served as a Steward and among other things was responsible for making sure the appropriate posters were in the outside Notice Board as well as purchasing banners for the various seasons to display in church.

After Colin's death, June decided to move into the village, where she was very happy with a new challenge, her new garden!!

June made lots of friends through membership of the U3A. She had a passion for flower arranging, gardening, cooking and travel.

You will be greatly missed June, Rest in peace.

Dr Graham Parry

On Monday 5th October our Grandad, Dr Graham Parry, was laid to rest at St Peter and St Paul's Church in Middle Rasen. It was a very sad day for us all but it was made all the better by seeing so many people from our wonderful community come out and pay their respects to him. It made us feel so proud of our lovely Grandad and we thank everyone who took time out of their busy day to line the streets.

By the time we were born, Grandad had stopped working at the surgery and so we remember him being more of a farmer than a doctor! Grandad was always busy and he loved being outdoors especially on his beloved Fergie tractor. He was really good at fixing things and would much prefer to mend something than buy something new. It was like he had stopped fixing people everyday and started fixing other things! He was particularly good at squaring up our ponies when Mum couldn't manage it – he was never bothered by them, no matter how naughty they were being!

Grandad loved Market and Middle Rasen and popping into town always took ages because Grandad would stop and chat with everyone. He really cared about people and loved telling us stories about things that had happened whilst he was doctoring!

Although we don't live in the village, we all attended Middle Rasen Primary school and have spent our childhoods playing in the river and on the fields at The Watermill. Grandad always loved seeing lots of children enjoying the great outdoors as much as he did and we were always allowed our friends round to play on the land. He often remarked of the generations of village children who had played down at The Watermill and we know we have been blessed to have spent so much of our childhood there.

He really was a wonderful man and we will miss him very much.

Archie, Anna and Clementine Parry.


Geoff Handford [1947-2020]

Many of you will know Geoff Handford and will be greatly saddened to hear of his sudden death last week.

Always an active man, Geoff was still working on a house extension just days before he was taken into Lincoln Hospital for an intensive course of chemotherapy. He died in Hull Infirmary six days later following a bad fall at home on North Street in Middle Rasen.

Geoff had been a builder for most of his life and when he was made redundant, he set up on his own, turning his hand to whatever work he could find. He had moved to Middle Rasen from Alford in 1986 having married Anita just a couple of years before.

I first met Geoff not many years later when he turned up at one of our Sunday meetings at The New Life Church. He has been a committed member of Market Rasen New Life Church ever since, though his fellowship with us was interrupted by a hip replacemen which went badly wrong in 2008. He contracted an MRSA infection and was subjected to a series of revisions that failed to relieve the pain and greatly limited his mobility.

Throughout all this period, I never heard Geoff complain. He was strong and unwavering in his faith, often sharing stirring messages in church and encouraging others - especially those who were disadvantaged in some way. His own experience of suffering enabled him to come alongside many who were going through similar tough times.

Although Geoff had first found faith in Christ at a Billy Graham meeting in 1984, he told me later it was only after his baptism by full immersion that he began to experience the power of God in his life. He was walking his dog when he found himself on his knees in the lane weeping, praising, crying out to God in a new language and then coming floating home “with a deep sense of assurance that God loved me.”

Those of us who knew Geoff well would also know that he was always ready to give God all the credit for the wonderful transformation in his life. We knew him as a friend and brother; many knew him as a father figure and mentor. He leaves a wife, Anita, whom he loved dearly, two sons Luke and Mark and grandchildren whom he adored.

We will all greatly miss you, Geoff, but we are comforted by the knowledge that you are now free of pain and restriction and in the nearer presence of Jesus to whom you always gave all the praise and glory.

Paul Hiley


John Branston 66 years...passed away on 17th September, 2020

John was a well known and popular farmer in Middle Rasen. Over many years he actively raised funds for Cancer Research and other associated charities. In the summer months he was a lead member of the group running the biannual Charity Tractor Run from his home on Skinners Lane and from the Nags Head PH during the winter.

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G. Jennings

Remembering May Bennett

May was well known to local people, having spent most of her life in the villages of Middle and West Rasen. She was from a farming family and worked tirelessly on the farm until she married John and moved to West Rasen. She belonged to Young Farmers and later the Young Wives and has always been part of village life.

May was keen gardener and loved her flowers. She had a depth of knowledge that I can only dream of, she took delight at showing her flowers and was always happy to give novice gardeners her tips and advise, in fact you would have enjoyed the monthly gardening tips that she and John gave each month in the Community Spirit.

May had been a long-standing member of the Middle Rasen Horticulture Society and her husband, John, joined her following their marriage in 1974. She became secretary in 1977 and continued in this role until her retirement in 2017. During this time she undertook the many tasks involved in making the society what it is today, organising members meetings, coffee mornings, Christmas dinners, summer garden visits and of course the annual Sweet Pea and Summers Shows which are a big part of the Middle Rasen and surrounding villages summer days. This is an enormous task, which I didn't appreciate until I became Secretary (it makes my head spin) - but May, with help from her committee, gave it her all and each year it has been a big success.

May also took great pleasure in Floral Art, creating some wonderful displays and she would choose the design themes for the members of the floral art clubs to exhibit at the annual shows. She was always pleased when the exhibitors arrived with their spectacular entries and said they were what "made the show". When she was no longer organising the shows, May was able to enter her own creations and was always thrilled to win a first!

Both May and John were also very much part of the West Rasen Heritage Centre, where once again May organised the monthly meetings, the coffee mornings and of cause the legendary Green Man Day!

As well as being such a big part of our community, May was also a loving wife, mum and grandma with 2 lovely granddaughters who she adored and was especially happy that thanks to Skype she was able to talk to them regularly during lockdown.

May will always be remembered for her dedication, a love of flowers and nature, her lovely smile, her great sense of humour and for always being ready to chat. May has been an inspiration to so may people and will be sadly missed as she touched the hearts of everyone who knew her.

Janet Davies Sept 2020