In Memory
This month's Community Spirit is full of remembrance!

It has been a sad month for residents of Middle Rasen, who have lost Dr Graham Parry, Geoff Handford and Rita Ackroyd.

Dr Parry was a well-known figure around the village being one of the local GPs – he was always seen with a smile and a word of encouragement! His grandchildren write a very heartfelt piece about their memories of their beloved granddad!

Geoff, another well-known local figure, suddenly passed away in Hull Royal Infirmary. He was always busy with a ‘project' and would be regularly seen walking around the village, recently being accompanied by his little dog! Geoff was always ready for a chat and would try and give support to everyone in need! In July this year he kindly wrote our ‘Thought for the Month' for which we are really grateful! Inside Paul Hiley writes about his memories of Geoff!

Rita and her husband, Derek and their 3 children moved into the village in 1993. Rita spent many happy hours at the bowls club and enjoyed sharing a glass of something with her neighbours! They will all be sadly missed!

This November, there won't be big parades and services to remember the fallen, but please do reflect quietly on those who have died for us!

Julia Weeks


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