Tenants at No 43

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TENANTS OF NO. 43

Granny Radbourne lived here, and when she died, Bert Gardner was then married or about to be married. He and his wife moved into No. 43. Bert was coachman for the Rev. Pippet, and he was often to be seen in his bowler hat, driving along the country lanes with Mrs. Pippet or the Reverend in the carriage. Some of his trips were to Gaydon and they became more frequent when Rev. Pippet's daughter Monica married the Rev. Boultbee from Gaydon.

With Bert losing his Mother suddenly when he was 5, tragedy struck again for him. His wife died, leaving him to look after his 10 yr old daughter, Margaret. With his Mother living on her own next door and getting older, it was the most sensible thing to move in with her, to help her and provide a mother figure for his daughter.

After that, the cottage had numerous tenants one after another, for it was a very small cottage .

Then Doug Hogg and his wife Margaret arrived in the village, and bought the little cottage,

My first impression of Doug Hogg (from a 4'11” height) was of a gentle giant. He and Margaret had moved into the village just a year before me, and already he was making an impression on the village. My first meeting with him was at the Annual Assembly of the Parish Council which Doug attended every year.

On finding the details of his life, I have been made to realise Doug's modesty, for he really rubbed shoulders with the high and might, but never flung their names around as conversation pieces. As chief photographer to the Birmingham Post and Mail, he attended all the important national functions, and it was at the Earl Mountbatten's funeral that he took the photograph that made headline news – Prince Charles wiping away a tear.

There was always a deadline to be reached. At the Investiture of Prince Charles, Doug used pigeons to get his photographs back to the office in time for the first edition. Most time motor cyclists were used to transport the precious film. Doug was always sure of his photographs. Where other photographers took many shots, Doug would only take one, making sure it would be the ideal one for the paper. He covered many areas and these took him into many exciting and adventurous corners, like the time he was doing an article on trawling in the North Sea and was caught in a Force 9 gale, breaking some of his ribs: or the time when he flew with the Red Arrows.

His favourite lady to photograph was the Queen Mother, but the woman whom he thought was the most beautiful to photograph was Sophia Loren. Just to add a few other names, he spent a few days in Lady Docker's Villa on an assignment, and also a day with Laura Ashley. He entered several of his photos in the Press Photographer of the Year and eventually became a Judge in the competition.

His first love was never photography. It was the sea. Great Grandfather Hogg had been skipper of the Truelove Sailing Ship and Doug had sea blood in his veins. He joined the Merchant Navy when he left school and served as an apprentice. However, when war broke out, he volunteered as a photographer in the R.A.F. having had no previous experience in photography. It was possibly while flying on the reconnaissance planes, that he developed the ear trouble which would cause him to be hard of hearing later on in life.

After the war, with photography being his passion more than the sea, he started work as a photo-journalist with the Sheffield Telegraph interviewing people such as Sir Winston Churchill who was frequently 'snapped' by Doug's camera.

At that time, Doug had another love – swimming – and he was one of those brave souls who 'broke the ice' on Christmas Day in Sheffield swimming pool. Another love was cycling, which he still pursued in Clifford. As for swimming, when he first moved to Clifford, he would often swim in the river from Atherston to Clifford and back.

1955 saw him at the Birmingham Post and Mail, but it was when son John left home, that he and Margaret decided to find a little cottage – and they found a tiny two-up-two-down here, at Clifford. “You're crazy”, said their friends, “living the rest of your life in a poky cottage” so Doug and Margaret called their cottage “Hogg's Folly”, but it became to them a cosy, comfortable and restful little home.

When Doug retired in 1984, he found another love. He had rarely painted except when at school, and now he took up the brush and painted pictures of dappled sunshine in sleepy gardens, and still rivers drooped with willows, reflecting a soul who always strove for the sun more than the gloom. He always had a chuckle – even over disagreements – and how handy he was to have around! If you had a puncture, there was Doug around to mend it. If your handbrake jammed, there was Doug with his strong arms to move it. Any lifts needed, and there was Doug with the offer of his car. He involved himself with the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and just before his death was co-opted onto the Parish Council.

The most notable thing about Doug was the love, care and concern he had for Margaret, when she became so ill. We were so concerned about Margaret, and continually asked Doug for the latest news on her. The last time I asked him this, he said to me suddenly, “What about poor Doug?” I looked at him, and then he gave a chuckle. But I wished I had said more, for he died very suddenly the next day, and that is when we realised the strain Doug had been going through all those months. Those precious qualities that made Doug stand out from others, have made their mark on all who knew him. The remembrance of a gentle, loving, caring nature in a giant of a man, is a great inheritance to leave behind – and his chuckle must be delighting those in Heaven.