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Page updated - 05 March 2008

Roy Cole

I cannot let the death of Roy Cole at the end of 2007 go without a mention. He should have featured in this magazine as a Cornard person, but we had not got round to interviewing him. Roy worked for the Parish Council for many years tending the Cemetery, Churchyard, Country Park, The Recreation Ground and Blackhouse Lane Sportsfield. He must have retired in about 1994.


I had known Roy for some 30 years, firstly just as some one to exchange the time of day with whilst he was busy at his job in the village. I got to know him well once I started work for the Parish Council. Roy, although a country boy, was clever, as well as his horticultural work, he carried out basic general maintenance and repaired the Council machinery. He kept his own record of burials and grave plots in the Cemetery and knew, who was in which grave, who had the reserved plots and whether or not the graves were single, double or triple without having to look any thing up. He would turn his hand to most things, working out problems if at first he did not know how to do them. He knew the old ways of countryside management and looked after the Country Park extremely well in its early days. Roy also managed to see the funny side of most things


He loved gardening, his aviary of finches, his dogs and onion sandwiches, which he had most days! Another love was sea fishing and he would often go over night to Felixstowe to fish from the beach.


Roy and Mary his wife lost a baby, who was buried in the Cemetery; I can remember him being so pleased when they managed to afford a Memorial Stone for her grave. He and his wife helped their family by having one of their grandsons to live with them for a number of years.


Two stories I will always remember. Roy and the other groundsman, whose name eludes me, used to dig all the graves. Once the other groundsman, who was either epileptic or diabetic had a funny turn and fell into the grave he was digging and it was some time before Roy returned to the Cemetery and struggled to get him out. Following that episode a telephone was installed in the Cemetery Office and the Parish Council thought it wise that the Groundsmen should no longer be responsible for grave digging. Another time Roy and his other partner arrived at the Cemetery to see someone behaving oddly near one of the graves. It was felt that it was just someone expressing grief so they went off to their various jobs returning later to find this person more or less unconscious, laid out on top of a grave. They managed to get the lady up and walk her round a bit with out much reaction, they phoned for an Ambulance, which took ages to arrive, as the crew could not find the Cemetery, going first to Sudbury Cemetery and then to the churchyard. After that episode the Sign pointing the way to the Cemetery was erected at the junction of Oxford Close and Stannard Way.


It was said at his funeral that Roy had driven the Parish Council van around the village without a driving licence this was not so. Roy drove the Parish Council tractor, which he did not need a licence for and the Parish Council did not have a van until after 2002. Roy never owned a car and was a familiar site on his pushbike going about his business in the village. He will be sorely missed by his family and friends.


Gill Applegate (Cornard News) 02 Feb 2008