Jeffrey White

Jeffrey White was born March 1921 to Ernest White (leather, shoe trade) and Ada nee Ette (tailoress). Growing up mostly in Wellingborough, other than a time at the Denford pub, with an elder sister Mary. Jeff, as he was known, spoke warmly of his granny Mary Ann (Annie) Ette, “the best Yorkshire pudding maker”. On leaving Victoria school, Jeff worked as a junior reporter before joining Beeby & Cox plumbers and glaziers, where he was apprenticed. In 1940 he was successful in passing first class in the final examinations in plumbers work from the City and guilds of London Institute, department of technology.

Jeff in his tennis whites.

On 25th February 1942 he joined the war effort as an ordinary seaman in the Royal Navy at Torpoint. He moved to MTE Rosyth and returned to HMS Drake as an E.R.A. (engine room artificer) coppersmith. He served in Sicily and North Africa. After the war Jeff went to Australia on HMS Victorious, an aircraft carrier, and returned in August 1946, he was soon released in October 1946, with a green suitcase and “demob suit”.

Back in Wellingborough at the grand age of 25, his mum Ada set about “operation wife”, always making sure Jeff was well turned out for the local dances. Jeff had a group of friends who frequented the Angel Hotel, he also attended the High Street Congregational Church, young men’s meetings. Dances at the Drill Hall, High Street were local and popular.

He met Mavis Richardson at a dance, both good dancers, they soon started going out and married in June 1948 at High Street Congregational Church. They were married for over 50 years.

Like Ernest, his father before him, Jeff was a retained fireman, in 1949 he was certified to have undergone a course and was qualified to use and maintain breathing apparatus. He retired over 30 years later, by then a sub officer, popular and well respected.

Jeff and Mavis settled into married life, their daughter Jane was born in 1958 and a few years later they moved to a new bungalow in Harvey road. The family enjoyed lots of caravan holidays and a tenting trip down to the Black Forest in Germany. Every Christmas was spent with Jeff’s sister Mary, her husband Geoff Fossey and two daughters Janice and Rosemary, there was always lots of food, games, music and laughter. Jeff was working as a partner with Geoff Cox installing central heating, combined with Fire Brigade commitments meant working long hours. However Jeff found time to go fishing, locally and on the Norfolk Broads, with neighbour “Pecker” Freeman and together they became Freemasons – Jeff really valued their many years of friendship.

In the mid seventies the partnership with Geoff Cox was dissolved and Jeff became a maintenance engineer at Isebrook hospital Wellingborough, where Mavis was already working. This move enabled him to have a much better work life balance, with on call and weekend work as part of a rota. Jeff loved being part of a team, he made some good friendships, especially with boss Keith Law and Ron Halfacre, which continued after he retired in the mid 1980s.

By the time Jeff retired, Jane was married to John and the grandchildren Juliet, Jordan and Joe were small, Mavis and Jeff loved to babysit, “Granddad” would have projects and tasks for the children to enjoy. Juliet and Jordan played chess for the Little Harrowden school and Jeff loved to go with them to matches. Jeff would take them all fishing and Mavis would have a lovely meal ready for the hungry anglers, there were also memorable holidays by the sea, including Malta and Spain.

Jeff White was a pragmatic man, extremely capable of turning an idea, into a plan, into reality whether it was wiring a house, building an extension, making bunk beds or a copper kettle whatever the medium, he would turn his hand to many things.

Jeff died of an industrial disease associated with asbestos in 1999 aged 78.

Loved by all his family, gone but never forgotten.


Betty Palfrey (1928-2018)

Betty with her father, Leonard, brother Len junior and sister Doreen at Isebrook Cottage

Betty Palfrey (Born November 1928 – Died November 2018)

Mum was born to Leonard and Dorothy Chappell between the two world wars. Her father worked in the shoe factories. Betty was the eldest of 5 children spanning two decades and had a maternal role herself within the family. She worked at the Weetabix factory in Burton Latimer and as a machinist in the “Ideal” clothes factory.

During the war, her Uncle Alf was serving with a young man, Fred Palfrey, who asked if he might write to Betty. Through letters and meeting, a romance developed and after the war, in 1948, Betty and Fred were married in Finedon.

I (John) was the youngest of three sons, by the time I was born, the family had moved to a new council house in Wellingborough where I lived with Mum, Dad, Ron and Robert.
Money was tight in post-war Britain and Mum brought up us three boys, while Dad was at work.
She was a loving caring mother who knitted, cooked and kept the home for her family.
My memories of her was that she was a hardworking housewife who had many friends in the local area. They would often confide in her and ask for advice about anything at all that was bothering them.

Mum joined Mill Road Baptist Church in Wellingborough which became a significant part of family life. She was a deacon, Sunday school teacher, youth club leader, occasional lay preacher and president of a Women’s Christian Meeting Association. She used to speak all over the county. Her faith affected all parts of her life, every day of the week.

Betty worked at newsagents and hardware shops in Berrymoor Road.

When the boys left home this freed up some time, so Betty was able to further serve the community as a nursing auxiliary at Isebrook Hospital mostly working on Croyland Ward.
She looked after her sister in law Babs, who was disabled in their home at The Pyghtle. Also her Father, Leonard, as he was in poor health.
Afterwards she worked at “Rowlatts” hardware shop in Wellingborough.

In retirement, Betty and Fred kept busy with the large garden, which she loved, including the birds, butterflies and flowers.

Mum’s 88th birthday

In 2010, Fred, the love of her life sadly died, and life was not the same again. Her mobility began to deteriorate but she managed with the help of Robert. She found it increasingly difficult to live at home even with the help of carers. It was only in May this year when she had to move to Tasker House for full time care.

Mum was just 10 days short of being 90 when she passed away.
Mum leaves 3 sons, 9 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren – with another on the way.

During her life Betty made many friends and remained close to them, and her family throughout. This was reflected in the numbers attending her funeral.

Butterfly floral tribute

We believe that Betty’s faith will sustain her in the arms of her Lord and Saviour, along with Fred who also had faith in Jesus Christ.

7th December 2018


Mavis Elizabeth White

Mavis Elizabeth White (nee Richardson)
November 1927 to 2012 (84)

Jeff Mavis wedding

Mavis was born in Finedon, the tenth child of Harry and Isabella Richardson. She grew up in that small town, which was a farming community and also a centre of the shoe manufacturing trade. Of her siblings only 3 sisters remain (October 2012). During the war she worked in the Food Office, she trained as a short hand typist at college.

After World War 2 she met up with Jeffrey White, who was a skilled plumber and had been an artificer in the Royal Navy. They married in 1948.
They went to live in Arthur Street, Wellingborough, and Jeff worked as a plumber, becoming a partner in a local firm. Mavis worked as a secretary in a local boot and shoe factory.
They had an only child, Jane. They moved to a new bungalow: in Harvey Road, Wellingborough where the family were established. Jane grew up and left school, married John, and lived locally.
Mavis and Jeff would often holiday taking their caravan around England. They had a couple of holidays at her sister Meg’s villa in Ibiza, and it was there that a love for Spain and the Mediterranean was born. Later this was to be a big factor in her life. When the grandchildren arrived, Mavis was always happy to be providing for them making clothes from scratch.
Mavis worked for a long time at Isebrook Hospital, using  her secretarial skills; Jeff and her daughter Jane eventually worked there, too.
She was always happy creating things, such as curtains, pillow cases, clothes, anything which required a sewing machine, she was so adept.

In 1998 John, Jane and the three grandchildren moved to Spain, and she was very helpful in the transition.

Mavis Jeff 1992

Jeff died of an industrial disease associated with asbestos in 1999 aged 78. Around that time a house next to John and Jane in Spain was being sold and this proved the opportunity for Mavis to realise her dream of living in Spain, and next to Jane, and the grandchildren, giving her an opportunity to see them complete their school and university years. Between 1999 and 2012 Mavis lived part of each year in Spain, and part in England, which suited her as she was able to keep up with friends and relatives in both countries. She spent almost 5 years in Spain in total, and enjoyed Mavis Oil 250104(det)gardening, cooking, making marmalade from fruit from her own citrus trees, picking olives for oil, and making all sorts of garments and useful items with material from a local Spanish market using her sewing machine. She also enjoyed eating out with friends. She owned and drove her car regularly, she was last in Spain towards the end of June 2012.
Mavis was an independent person who needed to be challenged, so never stood still after she lost Jeff. Only two days before she died she was making marmalade with her sister in law.
She was always generous with her grandchildren, helping them to realise their dreams. The wedding of her grandson to a Spanish girl in Almería, Spain was one of her special memories, she would have loved to have “lived it all over again”.
She also wrote fondly of speaking to her other grandson on the telephone and hearing her only great grandchild chatting in the background.
She was very proud of her grandchildren and of their achievements.