Our dear friend Ron: 

As a born historian, he wrote some of his memories down in 1998 and most of what follows is drawn from these memories.

Born 9th May 1932 in Hounslow, the third son of what would become 4 boys.  His father worked for the council and his mother looked after the house and children.  He records a happy childhood, being more free than present day children are to cycle with friends away from home and to visit the Hounslow cinema every Saturday morning.  His pocket money was 3 old pence a week, which he had to earn by doing household chores.

He lived in Hounslow throughout the war, apart from the summer of 1944, when to avoid the doodle bugs he came to Westleton to live with his aunt Hilda Caines.

An uneventful time at Isleworth Central school left him at 15, without any qualifications or particular ambitions.  His father got him a job at Gillette Industries with a weekly wage of £1.12 6.  He got nowhere in particular so left after 18 months to become a trainee proof reader in Holborn.  But before leaving he met who was to become the love and, I suspect, the major influence of his life; a trainee draughtswoman called Olive Davidge.

He and Olive decided there was no future in proof reading and on the advice of Olive’s father, who had been a war reserve constable, he decided to apply for the police once his national service was over.  During this time his previous hobbies of jazz and ice hockey were given up in favour of walking and riding a tandem with Olive.

He records National service as uneventful, spent as a storeman in Eindhoven.  But he mentions that there he “learnt how to live closely with all types of people”.  A quality, I think, that we all recognised in Ron.  Aged 20, he married Olive in December 1951, while on leave and was demobilized in 1952 joining the East Suffolk Police and settling in a flat on London Rd South in Lowestoft after his training.  Derek appeared in 1953.

After two years in Lowestoft, he moved to Oulton Broad for a happy 5 years.  He then opted for Rural policing and was posted to Alderton and then after a happy 18 months to Wrentham where he spent the happiest 13 years of his service to date.  You notice how often he uses the word happy.  Says a lot about him, I think.

In 1973 an unexpected promotion to Sergeant came along with a posting to Leiston. Though he liked the job, he didn’t like living in Leiston and, now 41 years old, he and Olive decided to buy their first house.  Happily for us they alighted on Darsham, where he lived for the rest of his life.

In 1978 he got what he describes as his “dream job” in charge at Southwold.  This was (again) the happiest period of his career.  This time though, sadly cut short by ill health.  With only just over a year to go before his 30 years’ service, he was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and to his disgust, was pensioned off as he could no longer chance the rough and tumble of police work with the brittle bones the disease had given him.

So he applied for and got a civilian job in the control room of Halesworth Police Station. Where he worked the next 11 years, retiring finally, also due to ill health but this time by his own decision, in 1992.

He then seems to have given his time to the village of Darsham.  He started immediately as chairman of the Village Hall Committee.  The Village Hall was then in a very bad state of repair and he raised money and along with Olive and the rest of the committee put in many hours of physical labour repairing and improving it.

He was also chairman of the Parish Council for many years and a sidesman of the church.  This all combined with helping Olive as local historian.

So that is a potted biography, mainly written by him.  What do we all remember personally?

A man who gave to the village and who could get along with anyone and everyone.  Having known him for nearly 30 years, in a small village, where we all indulge in a little gossip, I don’t think I have heard a bad word spoken about him once.

To sum him up in 4 words, I think he was “One of Nature’s Gentlemen”.