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 had trained as a short hand typist.

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.


Fred Palfrey

This is a picture of my Dad, Fred Palfrey, taken on his 80th birthday.
He was born in 1923 and died in May 2010 aged 86.NVFP 80th
Fred Palfrey was born in 1923 in Suffolk. He was the 3rd child of Hannah and William Palfrey, his two older sisters were Doreen and Veronica (Babs).
His mother died when he was only 4 years old. The close knit agricultural community provided care, including Kay who became his stepmother, and later – William’s brother, Uncle Bob. Fred worked in the fields and was in service at Hengrave Hall learning to be a butler when he was called to serve his country in the REME in World War 2.

Fred Brigadier Doreen R M H Sept 1949
He travelled in campaigns to North Africa, Italy and Greece. He drove and maintained army vehicles, including lorries. During this time one of his colleagues, Alf, had a photo of his niece, and introduced them as pen friends. They wrote to each other for a long time until meeting in person and marrying Betty in 1948 and made their home in Northamptonshire.
Ron was born the year after, in 1952 Robert , and in 1955 John completed the family.
Fred was working mostly as a farm worker and moved on to drive lorries for a firm delivering road bitumen in the 1960’s. Fred kept in touch with his sisters – Doreen and Babs, and their families, writing regularly and visiting occasionally.


As the boys grew up, Dad was a loving father, always helpful, repairing toys, cycles, motor cycles and later, cars. If anything broke, we always said, “Dad’ll mend it!”.
We had various pets, dogs, cats, rabbits and Dad always enjoyed growing vegetables, fruits and flowers in the garden. He would take us out in the lorry sometimes, other times we went fishing, and occasionally shooting rabbits and pigeons. We were quite a sight in the motor cycle combination with a specially converted sidecar to carry 3 young boys – and we would travel in it to Church and on holidays to Great Yarmouth.
Dad moved from driving lorries to the British Leyland foundry, then later worked for ARC (Amey Roadstone) as a dumper truck driver . He then joined the Anglian Water Sewage division where he spent his later work years. He developed serious asthma and had to retire early. He was well looked after by his GP and the Brompton Hospital in London who stabilised his life threatening asthma.
By now he was a grandfather and enjoyed the hoards of children and family visiting him in his own special way. In retirement he was a constant support and companion to his wife, who was a member of the Baptist Church and Fred supported her in her Christian work, also doing lots of helpful jobs and transport for church members and friends.
He was active in his garden, often giving away the produce to relatives and friends and helped others with their gardens.
In 1982 he had a holiday with his wife and other members of his family, travelling across Europe by coach to Austria. Generally, though, he enjoyed holidays around the English Lakes, Wales and the Coasts.
He remained active walking “Rags” the dog sometimes twice daily. He was growing and harvesting vegetables from his garden well into his eighties. He continued driving until 2009. He did let the garage service his car once he was in his latter years.
He was a man of few words, but in the right mood he had some marvellous anecdotes of country life, a wealth of experience and stories to call upon about engineering, his time in the war, and was always willing whenever he could to help others out, but especially in relation to cars. He was a practical man who rarely showed his emotions, except his love for his wife. They were married for almost 62 years.
He loved and was loved by his three sons and their wives, and partner, and his 9 grandchildren and their wives, husbands and partners, and 5 great grandchildren, and many other relatives and friends. They are a wonderful legacy to a gentle and considerate man.