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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.

 

 

18th June
Melanina’s funeral
will be on Monday 2nd July at 12.30 in St Thomas More church in Towcester.  After the service, she will be taken to be buried close to Alberto in the Abthorpe cemetery.  The wake will be at the New Inn.

GinFest profit. Lynn Neasham treasurer of the Old School reported, We have made an amazing £2040.98. we are delighted.”

Women’s Tour of Britain Cycle Race.

Three weeks ago some posters appeared round our village.”Advance Warning. Cycle Event. Thursday 14th June. Expect Delays.” What is that all about? A quick look on the Internet revealed that the OVO Energy Women’s Tour of Britain cycle race would pass through our village as the riders travelled the 145km route between Rushden and Daventry.

The big day came and there was an excited straggle of locals standing at the kerbside right through the village waiting for something to happen. The road went quiet. About ten minutes before the riders arrived a large number of police motorcyclists; mostly riding BMW’s; shut the road and ensured that no-one was able to come out of the side turnings. One unfortunate driver was towing his caravan through the village when the road closed. Police asked him to drive his vehicle into School Lane but he couldn’t manage it in the short time available so was given permission to park-up in the acceleration lane.

A phalanx of cars and motorbikes – lights flashing – and plastered with advertisements drove into sight. There were police cars, marshals’ cars, photographers’ cars as well as those for officials and race organisers. Riding in their midst was a lone cyclist. Was she part of the race and had broken away from the peloton? Who knows? Within seconds the brightly coloured peloton of more than 100 cyclists whizzed down the Silverstone Road, through the crossroads and entered the village. There were cheers and shouts from onlookers but they all sped by so quickly and disappeared over the brow of the hill towards Wappenham.

Team cars with spare bikes and wheels on their roofs, medical cars, ambulances and other support vehicles followed. They’d gone! Within minutes normal life resumed. It’s not often a major sporting event comes to our village. We’ll certainly remember it but will have absolutely no idea who won.

 

12th June
Melanina Guiliani R.I.P.

Melanina died in Duncote Hall on 11th June 2018 at 9.30 am.  She never really made much of her recovery from the stroke she had at the beginning of March and over the last few weeks had become increasingly drowsy and uncommunicative.  She was very well cared for by the Nurses at Duncote and Dr Akram from Greens Norton had been seeing her regularly.
Melanina has been an integral part of Abthorpe village for decades and her death represents the end of an era.  

I will miss her as a good friend with a nice sense of humour and a great love for her village.  

Her funeral will be in Towcester Catholic church and I hope she will be buried close to Alberto, who died in 1997.

I will let you have the details as soon as they are arranged.

Those were the words of Dr Charles Fox an outreach volunteer for Towcester’s Roman Catholic Church. Her death indeed marks the end of an era.

Melanina’s connection with Abthorpe all began with Alberto Guiliani from Modena in northern Italy close to the Ferrari factory. He was called-up to serve in the Italian Army and served in the North African desert campaign fighting against General Montgomery and the British Eighth Army. Alberto was captured and ended up as a prisoner-of-war at Slapton in a camp  just a short walk across the fields from Abthorpe. When hostilities ceased Alberto decided to remain in England and settled in a cottage overlooking our village green. It wasn’t long before he met Melanina a fellow Italian who came from Avellino a small town in the shadow of the volcano Mount Vesuvius. She came from a big family and as a teenager she worked hard with her father in the fields. Several of her siblings emigrated to Brazil, South Africa and the USA. Melanina chose to come to England and obtained a job to work as a domestic at Bloxham School. Nora Hindes met her and was instrumental in bringing her to Abthorpe almost 70 years ago.

She met Alberto and obtained a job working for Reg Chapman who ran the post office from the thatched cottage on the village green. She did most of the counter serving at the post office for many years and also delivered the mail to parts of the village.

Alberto died in 1997 and is buried in our cemetery. He had never been able to afford a car – just a three-wheeler. But Melanina was determined that his love of Ferraris would never be forgotten and asked our then parish priest Canon Bridget Smith for permission to have a picture of his favourite car placed on his gravestone. Her wish was granted.

Having a conversation with her was fraught with difficulties and misunderstandings as she never did master the English language despite living amongst us for over 70 years. But Melanina was a wonderful character who will indeed be missed from our community.

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