On the 12 October 1939, Malcolm Sidney Cox entered the world. He was born at home in Walderton where he lived with his Dad, Mum and Brother. Malcolm got to be known as Tad to everyone who knew and loved him. There is some debate as to where this came from, he was a small baby and someone said he resembled a tadpole but also when he was a child, he used to catch tadpoles in the stream with his friends at Walderton, either way the name stuck, and he was known to everyone as Tad.
He went to school in Walderton and is still friends with some of his classmates. He didn’t venture far as he started to work for T Couzens and Sons who were just two miles up the road at West Marden when he was just 15 years old. He retired after 50 years but continued to help them out for the next 9 years. He followed in the footsteps of his Dad and brother who both worked there. One day he was working at Compton and a young Lady passed by and he called out to her ‘when are you taking me out’. This relationship lasted for 58 years with 55 years of them married to Noreen.
Tad had many loves in his life, these included his motorbikes, Morris Travellers, his garden, stamps, coins, his wife Noreen, his two daughters Liz and Mel and his four grandchildren, Alice, Louis, Ben and Bella. He also loved having a laugh and a good old boogie, mostly with other women! Noreen never got a look in!
Tad started his driving life with his treasured motor bikes but had to grow up and get a vehicle that would accommodate his family, so he moved to Morris Travellers. He had several over the years with as many as three at one time. His family eventually modernised him with a car that wouldn’t break down and Noreen was happy to travel in. He still owned a Morris Traveller and would go and start it up and give it a little run around. He was so proud that he taught Liz, Mel and Alice to learn to drive in them.
Tad loved his garden; he would grow his own fruit and vegetables and was immensely proud of his produce. His daughters would go home with carrots, runner beans, leeks and rhubarb to mention a few. After he retired, he started looking after other people’s gardens which he loved. Last year his garden got a little bit too much for him so the family would go and help, he loved to order them around and tell them what to plant where and how to weed properly. They would go home exhausted.
Tad was a man who liked a routine and adored his food. For over sixty years he would have a rice pudding and two custard creams every night except a Saturday night when he would have cheese, biscuits and a packet of crisps and the beloved custard creams.
He was always happy and never lost his temper. He was a bit of a rascal playing tricks on his friends, Noreen and Tad used to go on holidays with June and Tony and Tad would press the wrong buttons to send Tony to the wrong floor in the hotels. He made a light for behind his ties and had a connector in his pocket, he used to light it up when people were talking to him and they would think they were seeing things. He used to get the grandchildren to pull his finger and he would do, well we will leave that to your imagination. He used to form the front of his hair into a horn shape and the grandchildren would laugh at him.
So many people have sent such lovely sympathy cards and written such humbling words about the man we all knew and loved. These are just a few of the things that kept reoccurring, unassuming, very welcoming, special man, friendly, exceedingly kind, considerate, helpful, grateful they knew him, grateful for his friendship and privileged to have known him. They all mentioned about his
welcoming smile, his great sense of humour, his laughter and that he never changed over the years. One thing that did stand out was his carpentry skills and how talented he was at this. He worked on a lot of local properties including many churches making windows, staircases and any carpentry that was required. He also applied his skills to well known buildings such as Uppark house where amongst many things he helped restore the dolls house. His biggest pride at work was making window frames after the devastating fire at Windsor Castle. Tad actually had his five minutes of fame when television crews went to the carpentry shop and filmed his skills for Country Ways which aired on ITV. His amazingly skilled work will live on.
Ultimately though Tad’s biggest love and enjoyment was his family, nothing gave him greater pleasure than family gatherings and being surrounded by his wife, daughters and grandchildren. He will be forever missed by everyone.
David was born in Wivilscombe, Somerset on Christmas Eve 1931 to Tom and Phylis their 2nd of four boys. Just into his 90th year, on 4 February, he sadly passed away.
From August 2011, my father and mother, Anne, had been living in a cosy end terraced house in Chichester, near the Library, after selling their beloved home “Well Cottage” in Stoughton, to the Buckley’s. Anne, very tragically died from her second stroke only a few months later.
After 25 years in the Royal Artillery, David retired as a Lt-Colonel; having recalled that he’d really wished to study Forestry at Aberystwyth University! However, he was persuaded to follow his father and elder brother, Trefor, into the Army.
Sparsholt College offered him a chance to learn about farming, another passion, so he could try his hand at shepherding, and he later was able to join a local arable farming partnership with Peter Gordon Smith and Philip Huxham.
His love of sailing in dinghies began as a young boy when his family lived in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. A life-long ambition; he was later to complete a three month circumnavigation of The British Isles with his elder brother, Trefor, aboard a Peter Duck yacht, named “Mary Ransome”.
He had also taught his girls, Caroline, Sally and Harriet to sail a Mirror dinghy named “Gossip” when we were all members of Emsworth Sailing Club.
He served as a Conservative County Councillor for eight years, and was later invited to become chairman of both the Chichester Harbour Conservancy (from 1993-97) and Solent Protection Society.
David wrote three books and contributed to articles and a book about Arthur Ransome in China. He was an active member of The Arthur Ransome Society (TARS); David wrote: Some scribbles in a Commonplace Notebook of things that he found amusing or profound – poems, passages and prayers from the Bible and sayings and, about his life in Memories of Past Times …whilst drifting along on an ebb Tide. about his army postings; for example, to Singapore in 1964-66, Germany – Fallingbostel (1966-67), Hildesheim (1973) and, back and forth to Larkhill. This book mentions his love of Stoughton Down, the village and all the friendships he made. He also wrote a history book of the Peter Duck class of yacht.
David and Anne were totally involved in village life and he was Churchwarden and Treasurer of St Mary’s for many years. The church organ was donated in 1994, in memory of Sally, and rebuilt in 2007/2008 after tremendous resolve by my parents to provide wonderful and uplifting organ music. I have a clear memory of my parents painting the organ pipes very carefully and allowing them to dry on trestle stands around the church! One pipe did fall and a replacement had to be found.
The church fête was certainly a great highlight growing up as we all got involved in helping to man a stall or activity. There were lists, posters, organisation for the big day and an army tent on loan somewhere and, generally for any celebration our family had! There were happy memories of growing up in Stoughton for Sally, Harriet and I, though tragically, losing Sally in 1987 was the most awful blow for my parents. Our love of friends and St Mary’s church as our centre and focus helped sustain us.
Sheila died, peacefully, at the age of 83, at Westergate House Care Home, on February 1st.
Ill health had plagued her last few years, making life in a Care Home inevitable and, sadly, preventing her from coming home to Brocks Hill. We moved down here in 1997, following our retirement from running a boys boarding prep school, and settled happily, making many good friends, with Sheila making a positive contribution to Walderton life.
St Mary’s Church, Stoughton, meant a great deal to her, and, having a strong Christian faith, she was a regular attender at the Services. It was highly appropriate, therefore, that the beautiful, intimate funeral, so inspiringly led by The Rector, Maria Sadler and Sarah Lawton, should have been held at St Mary’s. The fact that such a huge number of people acknowledged Sheila’s death underlined the enormous impact her selfless, caring life had on so many.
Born in Brighton, into a medical family, she went to Roedean as a young girl, and subsequently devoted a large part of her life to the school, as a member of Council for 46 years. She worked hard, playing cricket and tennis with enthusiasm, and, being by nature, an extrovert, she made friends easily, several remaining lifelong.
Following A levels, she distinguished herself by winning an English-Speaking Union Scholarship, the first girl to do so, taking her to the USA for a year at The Masters School, Dobbs Ferry. This was a tough assignment for her, but she was looked after very well and, making several close friends, she had the chance to travel quite extensively. It gave her enormous pleasure that, in later years, she had a son and daughter both going on the same ESU scholarship. She returned to America a number of times over the years.
In many ways, she would have liked to become a doctor, but she felt strongly that, when she had a family, she wanted to be close to them, so she opted to be a nurse, doing her training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She made a great success of this, winning the Gold Medal for her year. She made plans to go back to the USA to nurse, but love got in the way, and we married at St Marks Kemptown in October 1960.
Her warm, caring manner was in evidence throughout her working life. As the totally committed wife of a boarding prep school Headmaster, she earned the huge respect and affection of parents and boys over 28 years. Many have been in touch since her death, talking about the impact she had on their lives. She was also a much loved Governor of St Catherine’s, Bramley and was a volunteer at St Wilfred’s Hospice for 10 years.
Above all, her family, with 3 children and 4 grandchildren, was her greatest love, and I feel privileged to have been married to such a very special person for 60 years. She will be greatly missed by so many people.
My father died peacefully on 18 February 2021 after suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease in recent years. He had remained active and physically fit and healthy until very recently, as many will know from seeing him out walking in the local area. He was able to stay living at home at Yew Tree House until just before Christmas. In recent weeks, in a nursing home near Tessa, he had weakened rapidly, but did not seem to be in any pain. Covid meant that we had not been able to visit, a very sad situation but of course one shared by so many across the country during these difficult times. But Tessa was allowed to do so in person a day before he died. I joined by video link from Northern Ireland, and we had a good chat. He could clearly hear us, even if he may not have really known who we were, and he smiled as we said goodbye for the last time. He was 89.
His early years were mainly spent around Farnborough, and he always had fond memories of those times. He was a schoolboy during WW2 and was certainly an expert junior plane spotter in those years, always able to identify the exact type of any plane from that time in later years. His father was away for much of the War, including in North Africa, but my father was also largely away from home, at boarding school. He went to a local prep school, Eagle House and did well there ending up as head boy. His final report from Eagle House indicates he excelled academically, and then on to Winchester College, to which he always had a strong attachment. Boarding school seemed to have rather fewer restrictions in those days, and letters record various quite big day trips out on bicycles, including one to see the liners Queen Elizabeth and Aquitania at Southampton. He did at least one much longer bike ride in France with a friend around the time he left school.
After national service, my father followed in his father’s footsteps by going to Sandhurst in 1951 and from there joined the 4/7 Royal Dragoon Guards. He did well in the army and reached the rank of major at a young age. His time of service was a relatively peaceful one, just missing Korea and finishing before the NI Troubles started, and he had many happy memories of army life and the camaraderie and friendship that went with this. He was an army interpreter in French and German, and spent two years studying at the Shrivenham military college of science. We have lots of photos from an enjoyable time he spent in Aden in the early ‘60s. He left the army in 1968, at a time of shrinking budgets and relatively generous leaving terms.
By the early 1960s his parents were living in South Harting. It was whilst there on leave that he met my mother, whose parents were just down the road in East Harting. They married in April 1964, whilst the regiment was based in the then West Germany, at Fallingbostel. Then followed time posted to Bovington, Tilbury and Northern Ireland, the latter just prior to the start of the Troubles. My father had a much loved horse called Twist, who came over to Omagh in Tyrone with us, and he used to ride and hunt both there and when he got the chance in England. In those pre-Troubles days in NI, he told me they would often cross the border, in uniform, and meet up with Irish counterparts. Not something that would have happened in the subsequent decades.
He had a strong link to Ireland, with his father growing up in Londonderry after many generations of Buchanans had been in that part of the world, with the family only leaving for England after Partition in 1921 we think at the insistence of my English great grandmother. His father was described at his funeral in 1979 as an Ulster man with all the qualities that go with such a background, and there was something of this in my father too. He was very pleased when I tracked down our Buchanan family’s signatures on the Ulster Covenant of 1912! His uncle (who I am named after) is on the Londonderry war memorial, killed at Gallipoli in 1915 and this family tragedy was always important to him, even after all the years that have passed. I visited the grave at Gallipoli with my father some years ago, which we both found very emotional.
After the Army he worked for Cortaulds for a couple of years, including an enjoyable stint in Vienna, which I just about remember. And then a move to Mapledurwell near Basingstoke and the establishment of their catering equipment business, ‘The Kitchen Shop’ and then ‘Cookware’, which ran until they sold it on retirement 20 or so years ago. They latterly dealt mainly with trade customers, including many of the top chefs. Lots of memories of trade shows, giant saucepans, delivering to schools, restaurants and hotels. I think the business did well through a combination of my mother’s ability to get on with the most difficult customers and my father’s organisational skills.
Both of my parents enjoyed travel, and we had many happy holidays in the UK and Europe over the years. As all will know, my father loved walking and this was often a feature of our travels, whether in the hills of Scotland or Exmoor, or in Austria, France or Portugal. I remember lots of holiday camping trips both just with my father and with the whole family. He would often just drive up to a farm and ask if we could camp or park the caravan in a field, which always seemed to work just fine, even if it might not today. [Mr Huxham comes to mind, just over the hill here, as one local destination] My father made it out to Hong Kong for my passing out parade in 1989, and I fondly remember the time showing him around. My parents came out to Australia twice to visit me and my family, and I know they had happy memories of their time there, particularly the wilderness of Tasmania, but also the chance to spend time with their grandchildren. As many will know, my mother had lots of friends in Russia and travelled there frequently. My father went too on a few occasions and so experienced some of the wonderful real Russia and its people, two of whom are here today (Yuri and Natasha).
My father loved animals. Whilst he grew up with hunting and beagling (the beagles used to meet in our garden near Basingstoke), it was the riding he enjoyed, and I think he much preferred to see and appreciate wildlife, rather than contemplate its pursuit. He was particularly attached to the various dogs that accompanied him on so many walks. Many will remember Vicky the greyhound and recently the somewhat wild Daisy. There is a wonderful photo of my father and Daisy asleep on the sofa together in identical poses!
My father had a strong sense of duty and loyalty, and all who have known him will have seen this. This meant doing his bit for the church, the local community and for individuals, whether family or friends or neighbours. He was a church warden for many years in our village near Basingstoke, and was on the Parish Council here in Compton, and was always ready to help out, or to campaign for a cause he believed in or that he thought was important. He could be quite determined. One local resident remembers him single handedly striding up the hill here to prevent a new phone mast being covertly assembled some years ago, and this was entirely in character.
He loved the countryside round here, and particularly the walking. He was an active member of the Staggerers local walking group until he could no longer keep up (not through lack of trying). He couldn’t bear not being able to get out every day, and as many will know there were a fair number of incidents in recent years when he needed some help to make it home, after perhaps overdoing it somewhat. Thank you to all those who helped out – I know he was grateful. It was perhaps not being able to be out in the wonderful local countryside that hastened his demise. In recent years Alzheimer’s had taken hold, which he found immensely frustrating and difficult to deal with, as would we all. The early loss of my mother in 2016 made life much more difficult too. But lots of people helped to enable him to stay living here as long as possible, Amanda (here today) in particular. And of course not forgetting my sister Tessa who has always been much closer to Compton than me, and so ended up sorting an endless list of issues with the house, the carers and more. He loved seeing his granddaughter Sophie, here today, and Emily when she could get over from Northern Ireland. The loss of his first grandchild Catherine to blood cancer in 2013 was and is immensely difficult for us all, and he felt this keenly.
That’s it really. My parents loved Compton, they embraced village life and they had many wonderful friends here. My father will be greatly missed by all of us, but not forgotten. He felt he had a duty to make a difference to this world. He did this, and as the next generation we strive to do the same.
Richard also wrote
Tessa and I were particularly moved by the number of local people who were out in the square. For me this was wholly unexpected, but is something I will never forget and meant a huge amount. Not that I needed to be reminded, but there could be no more powerful indication of the very strong sense of community in the area, and it is wonderful to see this coming together of so many friends of my parents at a time like this.
Sign up to receive weekly news from our churches
Sign up to receive updates by email from our Rector and the Octagon Parish, including times for church services
The Octagon Parish is made up of eight villages with churches: Stansted, Racton, Stoughton, East Marden, North Marden, Up Marden, Compton and Forestside and two villages without churches: West Marden and Walderton. Blessed with wonderful walks and fine views down to the south coast, its small ancient downland churches are noted for their spiritual peace and tranquillity, some dating back to Saxon times. There are two stately homes in the area: Stansted House and Uppark.