Hilda Banyard 1916-2009

Brian and Denis Banyard would like to thank everyone who attended the funeral of their mother Hilda Banyard who sadly died on the 16th August in Merlin Court Marlborough. The funeral was held at All Saints Church Ham on  the 27th at 11.30am.

Mum was born in Dulwich on the 24th August 1916, in her early life she worked as a model for C&A, although she assured me the life was not a glamorous one then. In 1936 after marrying my father they moved to Hayes in Kent.

She moved to Ham with my father a retired metropolitan police office in 1965, the bungalow originally being built by her father in 1936. Strong links with Ham already existed long before they made their final move.  My mother enjoyed very much her life in Ham and saw many changes over the years, from the closure of the Bakery/Shop/Post Office and eventually the closure of the School where she had been a play ground assistant under Miss Lily the head teacher for several years. Unfortunately after several falls and increasing mobility problems made it unsafe for her to remain at home, so in December 2005 she made another move to Merlin Court.

She was known for her bubbly personality and was well liked by many local people. She had at the age of 92 outlived a lot of her old friends.

Brian Banyard

Norah Greenhill 1925-2009

Deborah Higgins, Norah and John Greenhill’s daughter writes:

Norah Greenhill was born in Cardiff on 14th February 1925, one of 8 children. She was raised single handedly by her mother, as her father died of lung cancer when she was 10 (I think this manifested itself in her independent and determined character).

Bright, she did extremely well at school. After the war she got a job in Germany as PA to a General  . It was in Germany that she met my father John and they embarked on a most interesting life together in the Air Force. Every posting was exciting, both politically and culturally.

In the 1960’s Norah trained as a teacher after taking two A levels and gaining A grades. --matric wasn’t recognised. Typically, she did so well that she was offered a place at university. .She taught for many years in between postings to Amman, Lusaka, Glasgow! and Rome among others. She also taught English as a foreign language.

Norah was a very competitive tennis player and, years ago, one of her tennis friends urged her to take up bridge but she just wasn’t interested –  then!  However, when my parents moved to Ham, she took up the challenge, and how!  She loved her bridge.

She was always interested in everything and everyone especially her grandchildren. She died peacefully at home on the 3rd of March.

Humphrey Wood 1st June 1925 – 2nd August 2008

Ham church was full on August 13th for the funeral of Humphrey Wood who died at the age of 83, having been unwell for some time. Many people who knew him and his wife Felicity - who died six years ago - will be saddened by his death.

The Woods lived at the epicentre of Ham at Well Cottage, which they bought from a Miss Sweet in about 1972, and they were both central to the village and its activities. Felicity, of course, was a ‘native’ since her parents, the Jamesons, had bought Ham Cross in 1957. It is impossible not to remember them waving to everyone from the steps of their house.
Humphrey was extremely talented as an artist – as well as being a formidable architect – and could often be seen painting village scenes from various perspectives. He was passionate about the countryside and its preservation. In the context of Ham, he served on the Parish Council and was its chairman for at least ten years. His knowledge of village history was remarkable and was an essential component of any debate about byways, footpaths, tree planting and the aesthetic standing and the worthiness of one style of new building or extension over another. He was against in-filling, not because he was anti progress but because he felt that once a village had lost its natural ebb and flow of vistas and solid mass, the individual feeling of a village would be lost. Other council members were happy to ‘defer to Humphrey’ on matters of good taste, and realised how lucky they were to have such an informed councillor in their midst.
He was also member of the CPRE, which he advised on new builds and village development and was therefore able to bring additional and wider perspectives to discussions about village development and rural progress. All his work was conducted with frightening diligence – he always went to see new schemes for himself and wrote exacting reports on how they could be improved - what worked well and what worked not so well. Those that served on the parish council will remember his precise use of language and his beautifully crafted handwriting. He had a special take on community needs that are important for town or village life.

Ham residents will also remember the tangible contributions he made such fund raising for the restoration of the bells at Ham church and their re-installation when most believed that the belfry was completely rotten and unable to support their weight. It was Humphrey who regularly rang the bells (and worked out the basic tune) to call worshippers to church. Humphrey also gathered a team to save the Crown and Anchor at one stage as he was dead against the idea of pub closure (even though he lived immediately opposite), and was sad to have witnessed the demise of both the shop and the school.

His daughters Susanna, Charlotte and Flora led the congregation at the funeral service and his grandchildren, Quin, Paloma, Sam, Robyn, Luis and Issy were all at the service. Quin, the eldest gave a reading ‘Deep Peace’. Humphrey’s nephew, Giles Sturdy, gave the eulogy at the service, in which he also thanked Humphrey’s carers. Below there are some highlights he recalled of Humphrey’s life:

Humphrey was the youngest of five children and his parents were Trevor Wood – a London Solicitor - and Dorothy whose family, the Fosters, owned large houses in Shropshire and Northampton and had connections with the Anglo-Irish ascendancy and in political circles. He grew up in Egerton Gardens but every summer the family went to Arne. Arne is a small isolated farming and fishing village on the South side of Poole Harbour – it’s all heath land and pine trees, muddy estuaries, salt marshes and with fine views from Arne House across the harbour and to the Purbeck hills. It was an idyllic place to grow up during the pre war years. It was there that he and his elder brother Jeremy developed their love and knowledge of plants and landscape: two things that played an important part of both of their later careers.

There are wonderful photographs of the family in dinghies, riding in donkey-drawn traps and walking along the coast. ‘Hum’, by far the youngest, is seen in shorts with long gangly arms and legs. There’s an alertness and liveliness in his face and, as we all remember, with a friendly, confident, full faced smile. The family was very musical. They played chamber music at home in London and Humphrey had a picture of his father in Well Cottage playing the violin.

Humphrey went to a well known prep school called Pinewood and then on to Stowe. The headmaster of Stowe was the famous Mr Roxborough who talked to him, and inspired him about the importance of art in life. From Stowe Hum went to Trinity College Cambridge and in 1943 and did a short course in Engineering. Rowing was his passion. He stroked the 1st and 3rd Trinity boat in 1945. Trinity was “Head of the River” that year. His oar remained a proud possession ever after and for many years Henley regatta was an important part of the Woods’ social calendar. Humphrey completed his National Service in the Navy, and did a tour of duty in the Far East. He visited Hiroshima, and one can only imagine the impact that walking in the ashes and ruins must have had; the absolute negation of civilization and culture. To what extent that experience, the totality of the destruction, influenced his later career in architecture and the care and protection of landscapes – one can only guess.

After the Navy, Hum studied Architecture for five years at the Architectural Association, and then worked for Basil Spence. Later, and for most his career he was in partnership with Andrew Renton, Peter Howard and Gerald Lavene in London. One of the earliest buildings that he worked on was the Thorn Building. In its time it was iconic, one the largest post war rebuilding projects in London. Another important project was the Port of London Authority building and St Catherine’s Dock in 1973. Shopping centres became an important focus for his career for a time – the emphasis again , as with St Catherine’s dock was in integrating a new development within the existing environment and social community.

Some time in the early 50’s he met Felicity Jameson at a house in Chelsea. Their host was leaving for America and had asked all his friends to visit on either of two days. By chance Hum and Felicity turned up on the same day. They were married in April 1955 at St James Piccadilly and had long and wonderfully happy marriage; Susannah was born in 1959, Charlotte and Flora soon after.

Something that Hum always did on holiday was paint : those lovely delicate simple water colours, beautifully proportioned, simple detail – not cluttered – landscapes , architectural features – that then came onto us all as Christmas cards. As well as family holidays he and Felicity travelled widely, usually with friends – many of have shared holidays in China, Italy, France, the Seychelles and Morocco. He and Felicity were superb travel companions – always interesting, ready for adventure; knowledgeable and full of fun. But at the heart of the travelling was always an extension of friendship and companionship.

Friendships were hugely important to him, but more than anything after Felicity died he adored his three daughters. They adored him. We all did. He gave us all so much in the way of kindness, friendship and support.


Cyril Hanks 1933-2008

Cyril Hanks, who had lived in Ham for more than 40 years, sadly died suddenly in March. His daughter Carol Noon has written:
My father, one of eight children, originally came from the Cotswolds where he was born in Northleach,. He did his National Service in the RAF and moved to this area in the mid 1950’s when his work involved connecting Shalbourne and Ham to the mains water supply. During this time he met my mother, Hilda and they were married in Shalbourne Church and made their home at Shalbourne Newtown where I was born. In the early 1960’s the family moved to Ham, living first at Manor Farm Cottages and then moving to the Severalls where they have been for the last 47 years.
Cyril worked on the construction of the M4 and in the 1970’s formed a building firm, Stokes Hanks and Dennis, with my great uncle and a friend,. Employing a few ‘local lads’ they grew to be a very successful building company until they sold up and took retirement in the 1990’s. During his retirement years he took great pride and joy in his garden and his grandchildren, Annie and Phil. He was frequently seen with Belle, the family dog, walking down the Inkpen Road.
It was a great and sudden shock to us and everyone that knew him when he died so unexpectedly. He was one of the ‘old Ham scene’. He will be greatly missed. God bless you, Dad.
My mother, Hilda, and the rest of my family would like to thank you all for your kind words, cards and flowers. Also we would like to say a big thank you to Dr Tim Ballard and the staff at Great Bedwyn Surgery for their care and commitment to my father over the years. Thank you all. C A Noon

Ronnie Watson 1914-2007

Many people will be sad to learn of the death of Ronnie Watson, on the 11th October 2007, at the age of 93, who lived in Ham for 13 years with his wife Judith at Yew Tree Cottage. He was educated at Marlborough before joining the Lothian and Border Horse Yeomanry (The Lothians) for the duration of the war, winning an MC. Subsequently he was a member of the Royal Company of Archers (the Queens bodyguard in Scotland) and senior partner of Brodies, the law firm and also Chairman of Scottish Life. He and his wife Judith were keen travellers and made friends with Humphrey and Felicity Wood with whom they went on three memorable cruises to the Seychelles, and to other destinations in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, landing in exotic places and enjoying long walks and experiencing the ‘…vast expanse of sea, and the colour – the bluest blue’.

Ronnie soon took on many jobs in Ham Parish which he carried out with vigour – ruffling a few feathers when he took a dislike to a rug in the chancel and threw it out – later discovering that it had been a gift from Lady Jameson, who was incensed to find that it had disappeared without her permission. He immediately apologised to Elizabeth Jameson with great charm and a beautiful replacement was presented.

In 1986 Ronnie and Judith were travelling in India with Penelope Betjeman, wife of the Poet Laureate, Sir John when she died in Kulu Valley. This event was recorded in a book, ‘In My Grandmother’s Footsteps’ written by her Granddaughter, Imogen Lycett Green in 1995. In the absence of a priest, Ronnie led the prayers at her funeral which was held high in the Indian hills where she died. Ronnie is survived by Judith who lives in Marlborough.

Richard Guyatt 1914-2007

Professor Richard Guyatt died peacefully on 17th October 2007 at Forge Cottage, which had been his home for many years.

Born on May 8th 1914 in Spain, where his father became Vice Consul, Richard was sent to school at Charterhouse where his talent for drawing was first recognised. By the age of 19 he was working as a commercial artist and designer and his 1930’s posters for Shell have become design classics. On being asked to alter one poster because the driver was deemed to be ‘far too handsome’ he omitted to reveal that he had modelled the driver upon himself.

During the Second World War Dick was recruited by the Ministry of Security to design camouflage for important installations. This required undertaking much airborne reconnaissance and involved being sent up in a tethered balloon to spend long hours sketching, sometimes whilst the Luftwaffe came and went. Suspended in the night sky, with a flickering oil lamp to illuminate his pad he admitted that he ‘felt a little exposed’.

In 1948 Dick Guyatt joined the the Royal College of Art and was the youngest professor there. His new specialist department was to be called the school of design for publicity, but the new name was deemed vulgar and a new title for the department was sought. The phrase ‘Graphic Design’ was Dick Guyatt’s own invention. He worked at the College for 34 years as professor, pro-rector and rector.

At the Festival of Britain in 1951, the first great national event in London after the war, Dick was co-designer of the Lion & Unicorn Pavilion on the South Bank. During his long and versatile career he created coins for the Royal Mint, postage stamps, commemorative items for Wedgewood and many other things. His last mug for Wedgewood was produced in 2005 at the age of 91, for the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Richard Guyatt was married for 70 years to Elizabeth (Lizzie) Corsellis, who died in 2005.

See also the obituary in The Times



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