1. Jane Mary Brinkley 1956 - 2017

jane 1
Jane 2
Many references were made today of Jane's generosity, effort, participation and direction for numerous village events for many years. These ranged from school governor through 'Henham Player's' theatrical shows, numerous events in the village hall and summer fetes. I could fill this page with dozens of village tributes. My tribute is simple. I felt another heart attack occurring. Without a flinch despite my collapsing, she immediately went into action and within moments the ambulance had arrived and my life was saved. She has given me another 15+ years of life. How do you adequately thank someone for that ! Below are photos of some of the beautiful floral displays made by Sue Ellis-Callow. The vibrant colours accurately reflect Jane's personality.

'THE DASH' by Linda Ellis
'My Special Place' written by Jane Mary Brinkley when aged 19-20 yrs

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash,

What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; Are there things you would like to change?

For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough to consider what is true and real

and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more

and love the people in our lives like we have never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,

Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash…

Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

Only I went there, or so I thought to my special place,
A place where I used to sit and think,
It was at the top of a Hill and behind a wood,
The sun shone through the trees throwing rays of light here and there.
On a windy day the trees would rustle and talk amongst themselves,
And looking down from where I sat
The view looked as though it had just been painted,
The colours looking fresh and new,
Early in the morning it glistened from the dew,
Like diamonds scattered everywhere,
And in the evening as the sun began to set,
The fields stopped glistening, the trees stood still,
Everywhere was still and peaceful,
That was the time I liked best,
When I was able to dream and be alone,
Alone that is until I heard that noise,
A noise that's not uncommon in the country,
It's funny that I've never noticed the birds singing and chatting before,
It seemed as though they were talking to me,
Telling me that I'd be welcome to come again

Perhaps one day I will.

2. Russell James Thake 1974 - 2011

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On Friday 11th February 2011 the funeral of Russell Thake, aged 36 years, took place at St Mary's Church. Russell had passed away peacefully after a long and bravely fought illness at the Royal London Hospital on 26th January, aged 36 years.

An avid football fan, particularly of his beloved Liverpool FC, it had been his wish that the theme of his funeral should be around Liverpool club and that everyone should wear red and amusing ties rather than traditional black.

Russell arrived at the full church to a recording of 'You'll never walk alone" by Gerry and The Pacemakers. The Rev. Gary Townsend welcomed everyone and during a very moving service talked about Russell's courage in facing his illness which had been first diagnosed when he was 16. He outlined Russell's life, his school and university days and his degree in CAD technology. He paid particular emphasis on his fund raising activities for 'Kisses4Kids,' for a scanner at Queens Hospital Romford and for cancer charities. He also read two poems one of which is replicated as follows.
'After Glow'
by Helen Lowrie Marshall

I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an after glow of smiles when life is done,
I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times & laughing times & bright summer days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun,
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

After the service Russell's body left the church once again to the Liverpool anthem to be buried at Henham Cemetery. Family and friends then adjourned to the Village Hall.

Received from the family 17th February 2011

To the people of Henham

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in the village who helped make the very sad occasion of Russell's funeral so much easier for us.

We know that so many people worked so hard to ensure everything went smoothly and we can only thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It meant so much.

Doreen, Tom, Adrian and Jo.

3. 'Rocket Ron' Wheeler 1940 -2011

The funeral of Ronald William Wheeler, known to everyone as 'Rocket Ron' took place at a packed Elsenham Church on Tuesday 8th February at 12 noon.

The Reverend Gary Townsend conducted the service. On behalf of the family he paid tribute to a man who had been very much part of the village life of Elsenham and Henham and a regular churchgoer at both churches. He described Ron as a straightforward man who "didn't mince his words and expected others around him to do the same," but at the same time was a sensitive, gentle man and a true gentleman.

Ron had passed away during the early evening of Thursday 13th January at his home in Stansted. Apparently he had earlier enjoyed a convivial lunch with friends, but had later complained of feeling unwell and died before medical assistance could reach him.
rocket ron 2
rocket ron

He had lived in Elsenham for most of his life and will be best remembered to the residents of Elsenham and Henham until relatively recently as the 'oldest paper boy in the business'. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in both villages. Ron, who had not enjoyed good health over the last few years, was very interested in local history, had a broad depth of general knowledge and loved all forms of dancing for which he won many trophies and awards. He also had a passion for music, particularly country and western music and rock and roll. I didn't know that he was keen on choir singing until shortly before his death.

I took him one Christmas time for an afternoon and evening to the world-famous choir at 15th century King's College, Cambridge. His vigour, choral experience, happiness and immaculately-dressed - he was something to witness. (Ray Gaubert)

Following the service Ron was buried in Elsenham Churchyard not far away from the grave of his parents.

4. Ted Stanley 28th July 1938 - 2nd January 2011

ted stanley

On Tuesday 25th January 2011 at 2.00pm, relatives and friends of Edward Arthur Stanley, known to all as 'Ted,' packed St Mary the Virgin Church in Henham to hear the Reverend Gary Townsend welcome everyone to a service to commemorate Ted's life.
Ted, a Henham resident for 18 years, had been ill for the last months of 2010, but died unexpectedly just two days into the new year.

Mr. Derek Foster, a work colleague, outlined Ted's working life, starting off as a young police cadet, his national service in the RAF and his service until retirement as a police sergeant in the Essex Constabulary where he specialised for the latter part as a traffic officer. Mr Foster stressed how much Ted was respected for his leadership and expertise and illustrated his sense of humour and fun, with several anecdotes.

A second tribute was paid by Mr. Geoff Wheatcroft who talked about Ted's very active role as a member of Harlow Round Table and 41 Club and said he was 'totally committed' to every office he undertook. He stated Ted was also a very enthusiastic member of The Caravan Club and had been the prime organiser of a number of rallies. He described him as 'the master of the windup.' Ted and Doreen had been avid 'caravaners' and had travelled all over the UK with a particular love for Scotland.
After the service a good majority of those present adjourned to The Cock, where Ted had spent many happy hours, particularly for the weekly winter quizzes.

To try and sum up all the nice things said about Ted at the service and afterwards would be impossible, but to Doreen and family it must have been a great comfort at a time of sadness to appreciate how much the life of Ted Stanley had impacted positively on all who knew him and who unanimously thought of him as a 'lovely' man.

8th February

I would like to thank the residents of Henham, many of whom I met in The Cock Inn after the memorial service for their comforting words and undoubting love and respect for such a special man.

Ted will be very sadly missed by all who knew him.

Kind regards, Angus Swanson (Ted's nephew)

He was my closest daily friend - Ray Gaubert

5 & 6 Bessie & Jack Hayden

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bessie hayden 2
7. Vera Isabel Leader 14th August 1919 - 24th December 2009

vera leader
On Wednesday 6th January 2010, Vera Leader was buried at Henham Cemetery in Chickney Road. At 11.00am a well attended Memorial Service was held at St. Mary's. Please click here for a copy of the tribute to her life. She was an important part of Henham and will be sadly missed by all her family and friends
8. Freda Doris May DIXON 1930 - 2010

freda dixon

A lovely picture of a young Freda
Mrs Freda Dixon, widow of the late Don Dixon died after a long illness on Thursday 7th January 2010. Her funeral service was conducted by the Reverend John Richardson at St. Mary's on Thursday 14th January to a packed congregation. A bible reading was given by Martyn Fiddler followed by another reading from Freda's niece Julie Hollingsworth and a tribute by her long-time friend and neighbour Jo Jeffrey. I will not try and summarise the kind words said about Freda's life because they are adequately and concisely contained in Jo Jeffrey's tribute.

Freda was later buried at Henham Cemetery in Chickney Road. Henham will sorely miss her. Donations, if desired, can be made payable to ACT (Lewin Stroke Unit)

9. Tony Carlisle 'Brush' 1938 - 2004


Looking splendid at Serena's wedding in May 2002

On Friday 13th August 2004 Tony was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium. This service was attended by family and immediate friends.

Later, at 3.00pm Tony's family and many friends gathered at St Mary the Virgin Church at Henham for a thanksgiving for his life.

The proceedings were lead by the Rev. Dick Farr and 'recollections' were given by Joy Lafferty, John Collard and Ken Sammons.

Joy said how honoured she was to be asked to talk about Tony and how equally honoured she was to have been counted as a friend. She spoke about his family, his friends and his faith.

John Collard, a friend for many years talked fondly about the young Tony, especially about his cricket and badminton at Blindley Heath in Surrey and their trips together to Twickenham to watch England.

He summed him up as a 'Christian Gentleman and a very good friend.'

Ken Sammons spoke of the Tony of Henham, his career as an accountant/financial director in commerce and told a number of amusing anecdotes, including how Tony was given the nickname 'Brush'. He said that throughout his illness Tony never complained and added how much Pat was to be admired in the way she had coped in the last very difficult months. Brush will be sadly missed.

10. Colin Smales 1927 - 2007


Today (Thursday 20th December 2007) I attended the funeral service at St Mary's for Colin Smales, a Henham resident for many years. The church, as to be expected, was packed. A very impressive reading from Dylan Thomas was given by Bill Griffiths-Jones and tributes by Alastair Eadie and Colin's two son's Jonathon and Tim. These tributes were both moving and funny.

Reverend John Richardson, who conducted the service asked the congregation to each 'picture the Colin that you knew'. My wife Jill and I mostly knew Colin from his voluntary help in the village shop. We live next to the shop and perhaps Colin was not the best 'parker' of a car I have ever seen. Indeed unless there was at least a three car length gap outside the shop for him to get into he would park across my drive at an angle of about 45 degrees. If he saw me he would try to look innocent as if he hadn't realised what he was doing and apologise profusely. It became a game and he would do it deliberately to wind me up. In the summer when he was on shop duty he would often take a chair outside and sit sunning himself whilst reading a book. Any customer having the audacity to want to buy something would be moaned at (with a twinkle in his eye) for interrupting him and making him get out of his chair. That was the Colin I will remember.

It was a privilege to have known you and we shall miss your cheerful banter and wicked grin, I am sure the condolences of the village go out to Gilly, his lovely wife, and the rest of the family.

Bill Bates

11. Helen Elizabeth Pimblett 15th October 1917 - 21st May 2012

On Friday 8th June 2012 at 2.00pm the funeral took place at St. Mary's Church of one of Henham's beloved residents, 'Betty' Pimblett. The service was conducted by the Reverend Gary Townsend to a large congregation of family, long time friends and Henham residents and many who had returned to the village for the occasion. Reverend Gary welcomed everyone present. He read from various minutes of the PCC which traced her role as a Churchwarden.

Betty had been appointed in 1951 and had served as such continually until 1995. As a devout Christian she was involved in every aspect of church life and the upkeep of the building itself. (I have since found out that on her retirement she was voted by the PCC to the honorary role of 'Churchwarden emeritus'. This I am led to believe allowed her to "attend PCC meetings and offer advice whether solicited or unsolicited on any matter". I am sure she took full advantage of this privilege).

A tribute to Betty were given by Mr Stewart Pimblett who outlined her life with many memories. He likened her to 'the iron lady' and once she had made up her mind 'she was not for turning'. He highlighted her passion for sport, especially tennis and cricket. She had been very proud of the fact that in one local cricket match, as a bowler, she had been instrumental in taking the wicket of her brother Jim who had not been best pleased.

In her younger days Betty had been very fond of her MG sports cars although apparently she 'lacked judgement in heavy traffic'.

betty 2

She was also very fond of photography and the village is very lucky to have her extensive collection of old Henham photographs and postcards.

Mr. Neil Pimblett then read out a further tribute from Dr. Tom Pimblett in Canada (Betty's brother who had not been well enough to travel).

The service then continued in the churchyard where Betty was buried in the family grave.

Although the last years of her life had been away from Henham in a care home in Stansted she will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew her.

12. Barry Alexander Tate 1931 - 2012

barry tate at lords

barry panto
Barry passed away peacefully on Monday 19th March 2012 after a long and hard fought battle with illness.

A celebration of his life, conducted by the Rev. Gary Townsend, took place at St Mary the Virgin Church, Henham on Wednesday 28th March before a packed congregation of family and friends.

Barry was then interred at Henham Cemetery.

Prolonged refreshments were taken at The Cock Public House.

left: Baron Hardup in 1993

Those are the bare facts and now I have the daunting task of trying to sum up in relatively few words who Barry was. Thankfully, I can call on all the help I need from his daughter, Karen, who during the service very bravely and competently gave a very moving tribute to Barry, her 'Pa', on behalf of Hilda, her 'Ma' and the rest of the family.

I will not even try to précis his life as a long time Henham resident and successful well-travelled man of business, but will rely solely on selected words taken from Karen's tribute, as follows:-

"It was Pa’s total commitment to the importance of family that directed the course of our lives."

"When Ma and Pa used to take me horse riding with them and I would sit on the saddle in front of Pa with my red 'wellies' tucked in his pockets, feeling safe, secure and warm - protected and loved by the rock that he always was for me."

"He taught me the importance of preparation and research, always to list the pros and cons, to find the fair way, to respect and value the views of others, to brainstorm - to make the best decisions you can and definitely not to commit the sin of splitting infinitives."

"He was the wise, good and loving man, who I knew would always be there for me and Ma. He only ever expected me to do my best, he never judged me, but taught me to learn from my mistakes, and apologise when necessary, in order to grow."

"I am sure I am not the only one who considers him the best letter-writer in existence!! "

"His love of opera, particularly Giuseppe Verdi."

"His other great passion of course, was cricket and I know some of you will join me in remembering him in his whites, gleefully striding along - bat in hand - totally focussed on the job to be done."

"His work ethic was the same as his life ethic. He was a true gentleman, always polite and with a high respect for others and their ways, and I remember in South Africa he tried to learn Zulu so that he could talk with the workers and although they all found it highly amusing, they appreciated his attempts with what is a very difficult language."

"And of course to the Henham Players. He was well known as Baron Hardup and Sherlock Holmes and I know we all appreciated the special gifts he brought to all of those endeavours."

13. Patricia Gwendoline Carlisle 1940 -2012

Sadly, as the village knows, Pat passed away just before Christmas after a short illness.

Today, Tuesday 15th January 2013, following cremation in Cambridge. a service to celebrate her life was conducted by the Rev. John Richardson before a packed St Mary's the Virgin Church in Henham.

Special emphasis was paid by all who spoke on how important her Christian faith was to her and particularly her love for the Bible. For many years she had been involved in church works, particularly in Bible classes for the younger generation.

In later years she had been sorely affected by arthritis, but she regularly could be seen being taken for a walk by her Labrador dog called Nutmeg. Clearly she was in constant pain. If anyone asked how she was feeling her stock reply was, "I'm alright" and then quickly moved on to other matters.

Like many others who knew her I miss her company and daily presence in the village