THE funeral service for Raymond Birch, of Middle Street, Wing, took place at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Wing, the Rev Stuart Mitchell officiating. Interment followed in the churchyard, next to his beloved wife Gladys, who sadly died six week’s ago. Donations were made to the village hall.
Mr Birch died at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Described as a ‘legend in the village’, Raymond, who was in his 97th year was the oldest resident in Wing, and was born there on November 6, 1914. He was educated at Wing Primary School and Oakham Central School. On leaving school, at the age of 14, he worked on the local farm for Mr Hinch, in the village.
During the Second World War, Raymond was employed by the war agricultural department, which was a reserved occupation. He then moved on to work for Ellis and Everard, as a coalman.
Later, his love and experience of the land was to stand him in good stead, when he spent the rest of his working life as a gardener, first working for Miss Brocklebank at Wing Grange. After Miss Brocklebank died, Raymond moved the short distance to Wing Hall, where he worked as the gardener until his retirement. However, he continued to work as a part-time gardener around the village.
On October 4, 1938, Raymond married Gladys Wing, from nearby Preston, at the village church in Preston. They first settled down in Station Cottages, Wing Hollow, eventually moving into the village at Middle Street, in 1947, and continued to live in their thatched cottage.
In his younger days Raymond was a member of Wing Cricket Club and played in the team well into his late 40s, at one period playing alongside his son Robert. He was also a keen supporter of Stamford Football Club (the Daniels), in the 40s and 50s. Later he was a staunch supporter of Leicester City Football Club, playing many visits to Filbert Street in the 60s and 70s. Raymond also loved following the Cottesmore Hunt.
A serious whist player, he, along with Gladys, enjoyed the regular whist drives around the county, and they won numerous prizes on their travels.
Well-known for his gardening prowess, during his gardening employment he entered the local horticultural shows at Wing, Preston, Oakham and Uppingham and won numerous awards for his vegetables and sweet peas , One particular award was at Uppingham Home Produce Association Autumn Show, in 1970, for ‘the best collection of perennials in the show.’
Raymond had his own large garden in Middle Street and would spend time chatting with his friends as they past by his patch.
He enjoyed playing darts and dominoes at the Cuckoo public house and in his last few years played dominoes for the Horse and Jockey at Manton, in the South Luffenham domino league.
Raymond was a good grandfather to his four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. The family were delighted that he and Gladys were able to attend the christening of their sixth great grandchild, Valentina, on May 1, at All Saints’ Church. Stamford.
Widower of Gladys, who he had been married to for 72 years, he leaves his children Angela and Robert, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Family mourners included: Angela and Philip Rudkin (representing Mandy and Toby Pink, Paul Houston, Kevin Pink), Steven, Clare and Valentina Rudkin, Robert Birch, Kay Lambert, Louise, Steve, Sam and Daisy Shields, Chris and Ann Birch (Matthew and Alys and Janet Birch), Jason and Becky Smith, Emily and Amy Bull.
Sympathisers included: James Lund (Kathlyn Watts, Christopher, Hilary, and Nigel Lund), Brian and Jan Hollowell, Robin Curley (family, Richard, Mary and Jamie Tullock), John and Maureen Beaver (Richard and Helen Bateman), Doreen Adcock (Percy Adcock and family), Peter and Stephanie Wing (Betty Wheeler), Jane Peach (Christopher, Charlie and James Peach), Marlene and John Bridges (Neil Bridges), Mick and Celia Wing, George Ridley (Janet Ridley), Christine and John Hackett, Liz Knight (Nick), Janet Berridge (family, Monica, Andrew), Mrs Sylvia Mackay (Mr Roger Mackay), Ken and Jo Fisher, Sam Johnson, Elizabeth Newsham, Wendy Newsham (Robert Newsham), Ian Newsham, James Newsham, D Rudkin, Jean Stevenson, Dinah Stevenson, Mel, Jess and George Hewitt, Paul Green (Dick Reeve), Bernard and Margaret Wing, Ted and Melanie Colston, Sheila Love, Chris Weston, Helen and Mick Eldridge (Scott, Luke, Sam and Katie, Rhiannon Jones), Marion and Terry Helsdon (Horse and Jockey domino team, South Luffenham domino league), Jane Tabberer (Sarah Bodily, Marcus Tabberer), Andrew Morriss (Shirley Jones, Matthew Morriss, Carl Jones, Morcott domino team), Pam Houlden, Edna McCall (Tom McCall, Houlden family), David Wing (Carol Wing), Mavis Rowlett, Valerie Collis (Jeff Rowlett, Robert Collis), Dorothy and Tim Tyler.
Jim and Ann Wild, Rebecca and Abigail Wild (Richard and Catherine Wild, Emily, Lewis and Charlotte Wild), Jamie and Sue Wild (Ben and Ella Wild), Dorothy Buckby, Debbie and Steve and Little Donkey Pettigrew, Peter and Chris Scott (Jonathan, Laura and families), Cyril Armstrong (Maisie and Richard Armstrong), Geoff Poole, Fred and Nora Gardner (family), Wendy and Chris Thorneloe (White family), Angela Bailey-Sessa (Manton Hall Residential Home), John Coates (Barbara Coates), Ann and Trevor Wild (Sharon and Pete Halliday, Lynda and Mark Watchorn, Andrew and Alison Wild), Denis and Lorraine Smith, Andrew Howarth, Chris Howarth (Jane and Tom Gilmore), David Birch, Gordon Birch, David Hall, Mr Arthur Chapman and Mrs A Bachment (Ketton A dominoes, North Luffenham), Ken and Lydia Waters, Max and Eileen Winslow, Robert and Ros King.
Sally and Alan Lambert (Russell and Chantima Lambert, Vic and Freda Lambert, Will and Selina White and family), John and Daphnie Hawkins (Shirley, John and Graham, Stuart and Lavinia Bailey), Mr and Mrs Bryan Spooner, Malcolm and Margaret Clark, Cis Boothby (Nick Boothby), Peter and Pam Cox (Mark Cox), Margaret and Joe Parrott (Shellie and Nathan Acton), Freddie and Brenda Beaver, John Clark, Sylvia Clark, Dawn Prior (family, Carol Swann), Cynthia Harris, Colin and Mary Wing (Donna Wing), Mary Hodgkinson (Alan Hodgkinson), Syd and Sheila Bowers (family).