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George Coward - 1912 - 2008
Born in Barrow, the eldest son of a main line engine driver, George attended primary schools there where the discipline and teaching methods were appropriate to the then common place class size of fifty or more. He ‘passed the scholarship' and moved on to Barrow Grammar School after which he worked as a Junior Clerk in the Education Department in Barrow Town Hall.
In a surge of patriotism at the time of Dunkirk he volunteered for the Royal Navy and was accepted for training as a Wireless Telegraphist. Morse, Aldis Lamp signaling and coding, together with maintenance of the wireless sets, were parts of his training and in time he joined the 24 year old, 1,200 ton destroyer, H.M.S. Whitehall. Whitehall's task was to escort convoys across the North Atlantic in often the most appalling weather and always under threat of sea mines and marauding U-boat packs. Respite came not to them when they were switched to Gibraltar. There they were employed on ‘The Malta Run' supplying that beleaguered island despite rough weather and the determined efforts of the German and Italian Navies.
George ended his war as a Petty Officer performing top secret work installing direction finding equipment to small craft prior to the Normandy Landings. Upon demobilisation he trained as a teacher and spent five happy years teaching Science at Kirkham Grammar School. In 1953 he joined the Staff at the newly opened Penwortham Priory School near Preston where he taught until retiring in 1977.
His ability, honesty, innate kindness and dependability, all nurtured during his youth and particularly during his war service, made him the ideal school master. He worked tirelessly in out-of-class activities, rugger, the C.C.F. and rock climbing. In all he was supported by his devoted Ruth.
In retirement, those same fine traits of character enabled George to serve St Peter's so well as its Churchwarden for sixteen years. He served with four priests and guided the parish through four interregnums. The large and varied congregation of mourners at his recent funeral was testament to the great love and gratitude in which he was held.
Five years ago he and Ruth moved from Finsthwaite to Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire to be watched over more easily by their daughter and family. Ruth died two years ago and George died on 12th May, confident that he was going to his maker and rejoining his beloved Ruth.
Stella Hartley (1916 - 2007)
We were saddened by the death of Stella, a friend to us all and a member for over sixty years. Until very recently she hardly ever missed a meeting and was very active in every way. Singing was an important part of Stella's' life. She had a fine soprano voice and sang, as a young girl in the church choir, at concerts, and right through to membership for years of Ulverston Choral Society. She left precise instructions for the hymns and the tunes to be used at her funeral and the fine singing of those hymns by the large congregation there was a moving and appropriate tribute to her.
She took great pride in brewing an excellent cup of tea after our meetings and I always looked for her approval when I took over that task from her! We all miss her very much.
Jean Wren 1930 - 2007
The parishioners, the church family of St. Mary's and the community of the Leven Valley and beyond were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Jean on the 5th November.
Jean was an energetic member of the PCC and the social committee and will be greatly missed. She was a great supporter of the British Legion for whom she sold Poppies for over thirty years.
Her husband, John, had died only a few weeks earlier and together they were great stalwarts of the community.
We shall miss them both.
Our thoughts are with their children, Michael, Christine and family.
From the Mother's Union
We are slowly coming to terms with Jean's sudden and untimely death, so unexpected and such a shock! Jean was a pillar of our group - giving people lifts to meetings and always seeing our elderly members safely back in their homes after meetings. She was ever cheerful and positive and ready to help in any way - one of those people who always cheered you up and made you feel better for seeing her. She is sorely missed and will not be forgotten.
Susan Anne Barker
Funeral Service at St Anne's and cremation at Barrow in Furness on 4th June 2007.
A Thank You:
The family of the late Sue Barker would like to thank all of those who attended the service of thanksgiving for her life, and gave such sympathy and support. They also thank those who provided flowers and decorated the church. A good collection was taken in Sue's memory and was given for the upkeep of St Anne's Church and Churchyard.
Thank you all.
Ruth Coward - 1917-2006
In his address at her funeral at St Peter's, the Reverend Goddard spoke of the special place that Ruth occupied in the hearts of countless people in the Benefice and well beyond it. The large congregation present were there to mourn the passing of a remarkable lady and friend and to give what support they could to George and the family.
George and Ruth first met as colleagues in the Barrow Education Office. On the outbreak of war Ruth worked as an auxiliary nurse in the old North Lonsdale Hospital in Barrow whilst George joined the Royal Navy and served his war as a Chief Petty Officer Wireless Operator on mine sweepers. They married in 1941 and Cynthia, their only child, was born in 1943 to be brought up by Ruth whilst George endured the privations and dangers of service in the North Atlantic.
Upon demobilisation George trained as a teacher and took up the post of Chemistry Master first at Kirkham Grammar School and later at Penwortham Grammar School. For twenty three of those years, Ruth worked in the Secretarial Department at Park School in Preston George's retirement in 1976 brought them to Finsthwaite where he was immediately appointed Church Warden. What a fortunate appointment that was! George was a very effective Churchwarden for sixteen years with Ruth ever his support and guide. Together they gave years of invaluable service to their beloved St Peter's and the packed, well cared for state of St Peter's at that funeral was a testimony to that service.
Tribute was paid to Ruth's handicrafts, her work in the Parish, in the Women's Institute and in the Leven Valley Singing Group. As she was laid to rest in St Peter's Churchyard the sun broke through the cold February mist. Ruth had indeed come home.
George Coward has written -
George, Cynthia, Peter and family wish to express their thanks and gratitude for the wonderful gathering for Ruth's last visit to her beloved St Peter's. We were overwhelmed and greatly comforted by the huge wave of friendship, love and kindness from all three parishes, relatives and neighbours. We thank especially Derek for his address in Ruth's memory, Michael for his reading and Anne for her playing of Ruth's favourite hymns and music. Thanks are offered to the wardens who organised the quiet peaceful atmosphere in Church and to the ladies who placed the flowers inside.
We are grateful too to Mr John Wilson of Boroughbridge and Mr Michael Wren of Newby Bridge who conducted the burial of Ruth, close to the tree planted in the churchyard by George in 1977.
Mary Agnes Stretch
Some of us knew Mary as Agnes and some as Mary; it matters not what you knew her as, all that matters whether she was a neighbour, friend or relative to you is that you remember her.
She had been ill for some time but never seemed to complain to anyone around her where she lived. She loved children and always had time for them. My grandson although he was not related to her knew her as "Nana" Stretch and I can often recall watching them hold a number of conversations in the summers at her front door.
Agnes (as we knew her) was one of our neighbours, she worshipped at St Anne's Haverthwaite and was a member of the Friendship Club and supported other local clubs/causes over many years.
She will be sadly missed.
Dave Calveley Dave and Carol Calveley came to live in Staveley in 2001 at the end of a much-travelled career as a Draughtsman and Project Manager in the Shipbuilding industry, which had seen them move from Bebington in the Wirral to Canada, Tyneside and finally to Barrow in 2000.
They quickly integrated into the life of the community and Church and Dave very speedily showed himself to be a man of many parts. He enjoyed D I Y, in particular building walls and converting parts of every house the family lived in. He was a very artistic photographer. He was a dab hand with his computer and if ever there was a need to produce a poster for any village or church event, Dave produced them in glorious Technicolor only hours after he said he would do the job. He produced a magnificent garden at Stonebeck despite the attentions of deer, rabbits and grey squirrels. He loved cars and took a deep engineering interest in them – and, of course music – as the bass guitarist of a 60's Merseyside group he never lost his interest in music which reflected a wide variety of tastes and played in gigs in churches wherever he lived - even effectively concealing his interest in playing the church organ!
All around St. Mary's there are examples of Dave's work for the community. These include the security arrangements in the vestry; the fence to conceal the refuse bins in the churchyard; the upgrading and maintenance of the Lych Gates; the windows of the Church Hall, amongst many others.
It was typical of Dave that all these tasks were taken on willingly and energetically at a time when there were concerns about his health. He never complained about his illness. He always spoke about his treatment in a most positive way.
But then, this was Dave Calveley. He was a man who was straightforward and extremely well liked. He exhibited a great sense of humour with a story for every occasion. He displayed a generosity of spirit and heart of gold, always encouraged young people and yet, at the same time, valued the privacy and surroundings of his home and garden. He was a devoted family man, married to Carol for over forty years and who was very proud of his children's achievements.
Above all, Dave Calveley was a man of Faith who read his Bible every night and, for as long as he was able, worshipped in Church and assisted in the administration of the chalice.
The fact that St. Mary's was full when Dave's Memorial Service was held on May 20th was testimony enough of the love, respect and significance of impact which Dave Calveley had had on this community in a relatively short space of time.
He will be greatly missed.
R.D.W.R. / D.G.G.
Carol Has written:
We wish to thank all our friends in the Benefice for the prayers and support given to Dave during his illness and for their kindness to us now in our grief. Thank you also for the cards and letters which have been a great comfort.
Carol, Tracy & Todd
Written by Mike Croasdell
Ossie was a well known person in Backbarrow for many years. Alawys a man with an eye for business, on his demob from the RAF he set up a mobile fish and chip business from an old Reliant van.
His passion was helping others and the community. On the threatened demise of the Leven Valley Brass Band he encouraged, trained and revived the band at his own cost.
He was always there to be available with his film projector showing films at parties and gatherings of local events along with the silent films of the day.
At his own expense he started a junior football team of which I was a member. On leaving Backbarrow he moved to Ulverston where he carried on his good charity works by organising the movement of engines, clothing and many other commodities to the poorest parts of Ghambia, always ensuing the fair distribution by being their himself.
His love for the poorest villages in Ghambia was such that he built a bungalow for himself out there as a base to oversee his charity work. As becoming of the man, it was typical that on his death he left the bungalow to the villagers out there to better their lives.
I was humbled and proud to have known the man and I, along with countless other friends attended his cremation. His closest survivor is his sister Ida and I am sure that those who knew Ossie extend their deepest condolences.
Thank You for putting this on the Leven Valley website.
(Born and Bred at Haverthwaite Post Office)
If anyone has a photo of Ossie we would be happy to include this.
Others of the Faithful Departed
Myrra May Eddleston. Funeral at St Peter's followed by cremation on 31st October 2005.
Ellen Moira Harnby. Funeral and interment at St Peter's on 10th November 2005.