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Page updated - 04 March 2008


Rod Kilby

From the time he was eight years old Rod lived in Great Cornard, having moved here with his parents from Sudbury in 1953, where Rod's parents ran the Brook Inn in Bures Road and did so for 22 years. Rod attended the Cornard Old School when Lionel Hurst was headmaster and remembers happy times there. Rod's grandmother had a grocery shop in Bures Road in front of Cornard Mere, the bakers was next door. It must have been a busy little stretch of road but of course there weren't the cars racing along it as there are now.


Most of the local people worked on the many farms in the area. Rod calls to mind his mother cooking food for the workers, mostly Irish, who built the sewage works in the 1960's. The original Kilby family first arrived in Cornard in 1887 from London to take up farming. Perhaps the first London overspill? Rod recalls a carefree childhood with the pub being a lively place with all sorts of people as regulars. He remembers fishing in a big lake, at the back of the pub, that was created when ballast was dug out for the airfields in the area during the WW II. There were a few pits caused by this practice but most of them have been filled in now.


Rod went to the Secondary Modern School at Mill Lane in Sudbury and then Chelmsford Technical College where he met and married Sandy who was also a student there taking Home Economics. They were married in Little Cornard Church and had the reception at the Brook Inn. Rod's first job was in Haverhill at the time the houses for the London overspill were being built. Sandy was Head Cook at Wells Hall Primary School when it first opened. However, after a few years Rod began working for Biggs Wall, a job that entailed some travelling. By that time they had a young son and lived in a caravan going to different sites as Rods work took him. They enjoyed the way of life and only returned to Sudbury when their son reached the age when he had to start school. Four years later they also had a daughter. Both their children live in the area.


However their travels were not over because Rod then got a job with Wimpey Construction and was posted to South Africa where they stayed for five years. They loved it and still have many mementos of their life there. The family returned in 1986 and bought a house in Great Cornard. They all noticed the difference in weather and lifestyle but soon settled down. Sandy worked as unit catering manager at Cornard Upper School for four years and Rod worked on various sites in Suffolk including the big site in Bury where the Sainsbury Supermarket was built. Sandy is now a teaching assistant at Wells Hall Primary School and Rod works at Stratford, in East London as Senior Project Manager for Telford Homes that means that he has to leave the house at 5.30 every morning! Rod is also membership secretary for the British Legion and a member of the Sudbury 41 Club, an offshoot of the Round Table.


Rod didn't mention it at all but Sandy showed me an award that Rod had received from The Royal Humane Society for going to the rescue of a girl who was in danger of drowning at Kessingland beach in 1990. Rod has one N.H.B.C. seal of excellence and was involved with another site that was awarded a seal of excellence two years later. N.H.B.C. seals of excellence are awarded to construction sites for their overall high standards. There are only 100 seals of excellence awarded each year throughout the country.


Rod and Sandy celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last year although neither of them look old enough to have been married that long. They have been hard workers throughout their life and we wish them every happiness in the future.


Interview by Joan Herbert (Cornard News) 13 February 2008