Obituary: Laurence Brown

Laurence Brown

THE funeral of Witham-on-the Hill’s oldest resident, Laurence Brown, 97, took place at St Andrew’s Church, Witham-on-the-Hill. The Rev Canon Andrew Hawes officiated assisted by the Rev David Pickett. Organist was Mrs G Stanford.

A quarter-peal of 12 changes of Bob Doubles was rung before the funeral in celebration of his life.

The band for the quarter-peal was composed in part of ringers who had rung a quarter-peal and peal respectively for his wife’s funeral six years ago and for their 60th wedding anniversary in 2002.

The band was Lois Webb, (St Thomas a Becket, Greatford 1), Pamela Pohling-Brown (daughter 2), Sue Marsden (SS Peter and Paul, Chatteris 3), Robin Rogers (Peterborough Cathedral 4), Terry Maddison (St Firmin’s, Thurlby 5) Julian van Geersdaele (St Martin’s, Stamford 6); the method was conducted by Robin Rogers.

After the funeral, local ringers led by Jane Clark, and including at one point the vicar, rang to mark the end of the service and interment in the churchyard.

Readings were given by Mrs G Stanford, and Laurie’s son-in-law James Meacham. His daughter also gave an address.

Laurie was a devoted servant of St Andrew’s Church and the fabric of the church, as seen today, is largely due to his efforts after he applied for grants and supervised work to upgrade and repair the church, plus many other projects connected with the church and its surroundings.

He spent two-thirds of his life in England, largely for professional and family reasons. As a young man, he was posted to offices of the Inland Revenue in various parts of the country, especially during the war. He was an air-raid warden, and saw something of the Blitz in London. He spent a part of the war at the arms factory at Glascoed in South Wales.

The Depression of the 1920s put paid to his plans of going to university after grammar school.

The family decided that the Civil Service was a safe career and although the Inland Revenue would not have been his choice, he was a great stoic and never complained.

He was a keen cricketer, playing wicketkeeper much of the time, and continued to play for local and office teams into his 30s. He was a long-distance runner in his teens and 20s and won various awards in Welsh inter-college competitions, running for an Aberystwyth University team.

After the war he studied for examinations which qualified him for further promotion, eventually rising to senior rank, and he was posted to key tax districts.

He moved to this area with his wife, Ellen, when he retired, and they were delighted at the warmth of the welcome they received.

They first lived at Manthorpe where they made many friends, before moving to Witham in 1989.

Laurie was a member of Bourne Probus and various other local organisations; went beating with the local guns and was clerk to Manthorpe Parish Council until he moved to Witham. He was also clerk to St Andrew’s Parochial Church Council for many years and a long-serving member of Witham’s Church and School and Estate Trust.

He survived major heart surgery at the age of 83 and in his early 90s had his shoulder joints replaced to enable him to continue driving, which he did until about two years before he died.

Ellen died in 2005 and he looked after her almost unaided for her final year. He then took care of himself until about 18 months ago, doing his own shopping, cooking and laundry, before he was forced to enter a care home.

Mourners included: Pamela Pohling-Brown (daughter), James Meacham (son-in-law), David and Anne Brown (representing Michael and Annie Brown and family, and Andrew Brown), Anne Tomlinson (Ian and family, Karen and family), Andrew and Denise Sherratt, Judy and Rex Grimoldby (Helen and Susan), Jill Shore (David and Andrew), Louise Saddington (Patrick, Ella and Natasha), Clive Deighton. (Suzie McCallum, James, Tom and Jake).

Sympathisers included: Warwick Banks and Jane Crouch, Ian Baker (Barbara Holland), Tony and Mary Barlow, Sally Bentley (Stephen Knipe and Witham-on-the-Hill Cricket Club), Alec and Ann Blanchard, Rev’d David Bratley, Jane and Bob Clark (Dawn, Karen and Leah), David Clifford (Angela Clifford), Ian and Jean Croft (Alan and Joan Payne), Joy Dawson (Michael and Hannah Dawson, and Joy and Steve Osborn), Andrew Harris (John Tate), Susan Hartley, Colin A. Johnson, Ian and Karen Lawrie, Ron and Heather Lee, Sue Marsden, Mr & Mrs M.L. Mathams, Susan Pennant-Jones and family, Frances Plummer, Bob and Gill Ray (Jenny Stanton and family), Robin Rogers (Judith Rogers) Edna Rose (Jack and Jessie Hales), Canon Neil and Mrs Kathy Russell, Richard Setchell, Rosemary Sismey (family) Christine and Tony Spratt, Sara Smith, Gill and Arthur Stanford (Sarah, Rachel and Stephen and families), Will Stanton (Vivian Stanton and Debra Macmillan), David and Jo Stimson (Abigail), Ann Taylor (Martin Taylor), Francis and Trudy Templeman (Jeremy and Miriam Wood and family, and Bill and Eileen Noakes and family), Rozy Veitch.