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John Riches our Village Correspondent writes weekly reports about the village for the local media.  We are pleased to place them on our web site in order that those interested in Abthorpe can access the latest village news from anywhere in the world.

This page will keep the latest 3 or 4 reports.

On the Archive page we will store past articles and other pieces of particular interest.

Also, our newsletters can be downloaded on the Newsletters page.


4th November
Leonard Bodily R.I.P.

Len, the oldest man in our village, died recently. His family has issued the following statement of thanks: -

' Peter, Carole and the Bodily family would like to thank the Abthorpe community for the love, care and friendship that they have shown to Betty and Len. Both in times of good health and more particularly in recent times of failing health the community has reciprocated the feelings that our parents felt for the tight-knit village group. We will always remember your support throughout and the strong presence at the funerals. With much gratitude, Peter and Carole.'

At Len’s funeral his son Peter delivered an emotional eulogy – a fitting testimony to his father’s long life. The following is an edited version: -


Len, was born locally and lived with his parents and Bet, Billy, Phin, Albert, Frank, Maggie, Violet, Fred, Kath, and Ivy. Dad was the youngest and the last surviving of this family group.

Dad started as a farm labourer. He married Betty in 1949,and shortly after that they moved to Abthorpe to live with Granny Cann. That was their cherished home until the very end and the spiritual home to Carole and I to this very day.

Dad then worked on the presses at Plessey before moving to Hadsphaltic for a happy, but hard-working 15 years. He then moved to Atkins and Shaw for 4 years. These were some of the best years of his life, happy at home, Carole and I growing up and many work friends from Abthorpe ( now nearly all deceased ) working together throughout those years in the construction industry. Those years were brought to an end by having a serious operation on his overworked back . He finished his working days as a quality inspector at British Timken. He quickly established himself there. When the news of the birth of his first grandson Sam came through during a board meeting the Chairman cracked open a bottle of champagne. Such was the respect for Len.

Our dad was a hard- working, strong, loyal, and kind man with true working class family values. He loved his wife, his children, and his wider family. Mum and dad provided for us to the extent that if needs be they went without to give us what we needed. Both Carole and I vividly remember Saturday tea time. Dad insisted on cooking that meal instead of Mum, always bacon, mushrooms etc…to the accompaniment of Billy Two Rivers, Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus.

Dad also loved his garden and his greenhouses, and the garden always looked colourful and immaculate.

Despite all of this, his family was what he was most proud and protective of. He and mum, never failed to support me through university and onwards. Carole stayed closer to home and she was a constant source of joy for them. Her children Sam and Alex  and her grand-children Jacob and Zachary were precious to him, especially the little ones during recent  times of illness.

Mum and dad spent much of the last few years helping and looking after each other. Now I am sure that they are together again.


29th October
Abthorpe Remembrance Day Service.

You are cordially invited to our informal Remembrance Day Service at 10:50am on Sunday 12th November in Abthorpe Church.

One of the items in the service entitled “Lots of memories – but no hatred” will tell how in 1989 Communist East German citizens Ursula Rambow and her husband Erich – a former German officer at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942 – met our pub landlord  Fred Huggins a Falklands War veteran. They compared memories. To mark the 50th Anniversary of VE Day in 1995 Fred sent Ursula and Erich a specially brewed bottle of Hooky. But it was never delivered and will be opened at the service. Let’s hope it’s kept well.


22nd October
Len dies.

Leonard Bodily, the oldest man in Abthorpe died on 11th October. His son Peter reports that his father’s funeral will be at the Milton Malsor Crematorium on Thursday 2nd November at 3:30pm.

His wife Betty died in June.

Old School Race Night.

The oldest part of the Old School, our village hall, was built in 1642 at the bequest of spinster Jane Leeson. The committee that looks after the fabric of the building has, in recent years, undertaken an ambitious programme to up-grade the building’s facilities. Already the small meeting room, kitchen and toilet block have been refurbished to a very high standard. Now money is being raised to improve the main hall.

On Saturday the hall was packed with eager race-goers keen to place bets on horses competing (on film) in the evening’s nine races and enjoy a tasty meal courtesy of the Old School Committee. Lynn Neasham the committee treasurer has announced that “An amazing £1193.98 profit was made. Fabulous!”

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