Tenants at No 5

From Clifford Chambers
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Photo:Houses and Buildings: Nos 5 to 8

George and Daisy Lively written after George's death

We've just said 'goodbye' to George. He was such a familiar figure, walking from his beloved gardens where he worked. Throughout the War, he had visited many countries; even being given the chance of settling in Australia; but to George, home was always the best. "There's nothing to beat Clifford," he would often say.

His parents, Enoch and Mary Lively, started their married life in Jack Radbourne's house No. 38 (now called Apple Tree Cottage). William was the first little boy to arrive in 1903. George Enoch arrived in 1907 followed by Margaret and Agnes. There was also little Kathleen Grace who died just five days old.

The small cottage almost burst its seams, so they moved to Cold Comfort Farm. George and his brother and sisters attended the village school at Clifford under the eagle eye of Miss Wilding, but even she couldn't stop the mad pranks that young George and his friends got up to. He was a a real scamp. Whatever mischief was brewing at school, one could be pretty certain George was at the head of it. Every dare was a challenge to him, and he accepted punishment as his deserved lot. He loved playing tricks on people and was always constantly thinking up more mischievous plans. The family later moved to Preston Fields and then finally settled at No. 5

On leaving school, George began the work he loved - outdoors - gardening. He worked as gardener at Greville Mount where he met Daisy Mills, a cheerful smiling lass from Long Marston. George, feeling that his wage wasn't enough to support two, left his gardening and joined the team of men laying pipes across the country. Unfortunately it took him right away from his beloved Clifford - to Slapton in Devon, where, before long, he was roped in to play football for the local team.

George loved sport. He was an excellent swimmer, cricket player, dart player and domino player, but the game he loved best, was football. He was so good, he seriously contemplated going professional with Villa, but that was in the days when not much money was around for footballers, and George reluctantly had to give up the idea.

George and Daisy married in 1937. By this time George was able to give up the pipe-laying team work and had found a job as Greenkeeper for Stratford Golf Club.

Then the 2nd World War came. George started off in the Home Guard. He had become a Dad in 1939 and his responsibilities were for home. The slaughter, as we know, was so terrible that, in the end, George was called up He joined the Royal Navy in Chatham and served as stoker on the Royal Arthur in June 1941. It was a dark time for him. He knew if the ship was hit, he would be the first one to go down to the bottom of the ocean, but he stuck it through cheerfully and bravely.

He was transferred to the Pembroke after a few months, then the Sussex, which became a much loved ship to George. He made many friends during the three years he was there. He was then transferred to the Adamant, then the Maidstone, then finally Pembroke again.

He was very proud of the medals he won; the 1939-45 Battle of Britain Star; the Air Crew Europe Atlantic Star; the 8th Army Africa Star; the Pacific Burma Star; the Defence Medal (which was the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct) and the War Medal 1939-45. One of the sights we will miss now, will be George, with his highly polished medals, laying the village wreath on the War Memorial at the Remembrance Service.

George was discharged in December 1945 and came home to continue his work as Greenkeeper, but his family was slowly increasing; John in 1945 and Gillian in 1949. He then went to work for the Royal Engineers at Long Marston Camp as carriage and wagon repairer.

When he retired, he went back to his beloved gardening, and took on other jobs. Jack Radbourne was finding it hard work to dig the graves and climb the ladder to wind the Church clock. George took over both these jobs. He also became a bell ringer.

George was always proud of his work for he put all his heart into it. When he eventually had to give up grave-digging, he watched the contractors hired by the Undertakers doing the work. "Untidy lot," he muttered, "ragged grave; soil just dropped anywhere; mess afterwards".

Then little William Salmon died. "I'm not going to let that lot dig the little lad's grave," George announced, and, with the help of his son-in-law, dug William's grave. It was one of his neatest jobs, and after the funeral, George beautifully turfed over the grave of this little two-year-old boy who had always greeted George with the words, "Lo Ivy!"

Photo:Village Family: Salmon Family: William1 and William2

He worked in gardens until recent illness. It is somehow fitting that the man who loved Clifford so much, spent the last years of his life making it beautiful.

George had never had any desire to own his house. He was just happy to be tenant. So, when the Manor Estate was sold along with his house, although he had a chance to buy it as tenant at a much cheaper price, he said “No” and the house was bought by someone in Stratford.

Round about 1981/2, he and Daisy moved into the new bungalows opposite – now called Barn Close. These bungalows built for those in need of a house who had reached retirement age, won an Award for their design. And, indeed they were and still are, very attractive bungalows. The only fault, at the beginning, was that the letter box in each door was so low – in fact near the floor – that any elderly person found it difficult picking up the post in the morning.

But George was happy living there – and Daisy was glad not to have so much housework and decorating as she once did.