Community Spirit ~ Remembrance!
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
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.
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.
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