Bodiam

Budgens: Many from the Village shop at Budgens in Hawkhurst and now Booker are buying the 167 outlets, Bookers say this will help to improve the choice offered by the retailers to the consumer. Booker are spending £40m buying Budgens and Londis. I hope the Post Office and the small cafe will stay, that could do a lot more food in it.

Car Break in: A car was broken into in the main street of Bodiam on the 27th May a wallet was taken with lots of information in it. If anyone comes across the wallet or has any information about suspicious activity phone the Police.

Julia Jones: I am sure many of us have a Memoriam of Julia Jones , late of Bodiam and Battle, who passed away on the 9th May, aged 91 years. The funeral service took place at St James Church, Ewhurst Green on the 28th May. The thoughts of Bodiam are with all the family.

Helen Dawson: One of Bodiam’s oldest residents has died at the grand age of 92. Sadly, following a fall at home Helen Dawson passed away in the Conquest Hospital on Friday May 8th. Helen was born in Dallington in February 1923 to Will and Daisy Buss. She came to Bodiam as a Land Girl during the last war. She lodged with the Morphys at Rectory Cottage and worked on Kitchenham Farm for the Levett family. After meeting and marrying her husband John, Helen lived for a while at Udiam Cottages. They moved into the newly built 14 Levetts Lane in 1949 along with their first child, Susan. Their second daughter, Isabel was born there in 1954. Helen was to live in number 14 for the rest of her life. Helen continued to work at Kitchenham Farm after the war had ended and also worked in the hop gardens for Guinness, She enjoyed the countryside and the outdoor life. Helen was a stalwart of the Bodiam Stoolball Club, once being awarded The President’s Shield for the highest number of runs scored in a season. She also took part in the annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race in Levetts Lane. This was an unusual race as not only were the ladies racing against each other, they were also racing against the ladies in North Somercote in Lincolnshire. Helen took an active part in helping to look after her five grandchildren as they were growing up. They would all stay with her for a night or two and sometimes longer when they were young. In the late 1970’s Helen met and fell in love with a Cornish bachelor called Gordon. They conducted a long distance relationship courtesy of B.T. and the Royal Mail for over ten years until he retired and moved to Bodiam in 1990. They were very happy together until Gordon sadly died of cancer just four years later. Helen started to write poetry in her 70s. She had a small collection published to mark her 80th birthday and in 2008 one of her poems appeared in a book entitled “Land Girls & Their Impact” by Anne Kramer. Helen loved Bodiam and, until her health started to deteriorate in her late 80s, was a familiar sight walking around the village. She made a point of walking around the castle every day, weather permitting, until she was 88 years of age. A few years ago Helen suffered a mild heart attack and also needed two cornea grafts, so her deteriorating health made it difficult to get out and about. But she enjoyed her visits to Healey House for the Blind in St Leonards and also the Age Concern meetings in Robertsbridge which she attended until very recently. Helen is survived by her two daughters, five grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren! She had a five-generation photograph taken at her 90th birthday party. Helen was a “character” who will be greatly missed by many people who knew her, not just her family.

Isabel would like to thank all those who took the time to visit Helen over the last few years and those that took her out from time to time. They are too numerous to mention, but they know who they are. She would, however, like to give special thanks to Geoffrey Goodsell and Phyllis Landels for their prompt action and help on the morning of Helen’s fall.