Mountfield

FRED STACE: The following is based on an abridged version of the Tribute that Dave Craven delivered at Fred’s funeral on January 26th. Frederick Walter Stace was born on Monday the 14th January 1929 to Nellie and Walter Stace at Blackbrooks Farm in the village of Guestling, East Sussex. They moved to Mountfield in 1936 when Fred was seven years old. After attending Mountfield and Whatlington School, Fred, aged 14, went to work for Oakleys, the agricultural engineers, where he stayed for 4 years until, at the ripe age of 18, he decided to join the navy. This was 2 years after the end of the war. For the first two years, Fred served on cruisers and destroyers, before transferring to submarines where he served for 10 years as mechanical engineer, eventually rising to the rank of Petty Officer. Fred met Betty in August 1947 and they were married nearly two years later in July 1949. Until 1954, Fred was based in Maltam where Betty joined him in 1952 and stayed until their return. Diane, their first daughter, was born in August 1953. In 1956, Fred returned to Malta, with Betty and Diane eventually joining him there until 1958 when the family returned to England and Mountfield. Daughter Sue was born in 1959, the same year that Fred was discharged from the Navy. Fred secured himself a job at British Gypsum where he used his engineering skills from the Navy to repair the mining machinery. Fred escaped from British Gypsum a few times but always went back again, before finally leaving for good in 1974. In 1964, the family moved to their dream home, 14 Mountfield Villas, a brand new house. Together they turned the house into a family home with Fred growing all his own vegetables, maintaining their lovely garden and enjoying the ideal country life. After leaving British Gypsum in 1974, Fred worked for Southern Water until his retirement in January 1994. Fred was always an active member of the parish. For a number of years he was secretary and chairman of the Men’s Club. For 26 years, Fred was a parish councillor, also taking his turn in the thankless role of Chairman. For many years, Fred maintained the children’s play park and the football field. He did this for no recompense and as part of his continued commitment to the parish. He was a Village Hall Committee member for many years and was involved in everything from maintenance to stocking the bar. Many of the improvements at the Hall and Club over the years are thanks to the involvement of Fred. Fred was a valued member of the British Legion and was one of their standard bearers. Many of you will remember that Fred always carried the Mountfield standard here at All Saints on Armistice Sunday (see LAYING UP below). Fred played on the darts teams for the John’s Cross and Royal Oak pubs. During his retirement Fred made a hobby of repairing mowers, strimmers and garden machinery. And many of you will remember Fred on the stage at the Village Hall as the country comedian. He had us all in stitches with his jokes and quick wit. Despite everything, Fred kept his wit and playfulness until the end and was still able to joke with the staff at the hospice. Sadly in 1997, Diane their first child was lost to leukaemia. This was a terrible shock to the family. Ten years after this tragic loss and after 58 years of marriage, Fred lost Betty, the love of his life. Since then Fred has lived alone in the family home and although having moments of loneliness, he managed to stay cheerful through his final years. He saw lots of his family and his grandchildren whom he loved very much. He maintained his friendships with all of us who were his friends. After living with cancer and still managing to stay cheerful just like the man we all knew and loved, Fred died on 10th January in peace at St Michael’s Hospice. Just four days shy of his 86th birthday.

DAVE CRAVEN: As your Village Voices, we should like to thank Dave, not just for his heartfelt Tribute to his friend at the funeral itself, but for making it available to so many people who were not able to be there because of location, infirmity, illness, etc.

LAYING UP: A reminder that, as Fred was the last surviving member of the Mountfiled British Legion, and its standard bearer, the formal laying up of the Mounfield British Legion standard will take place during the service at All Saints Mountfield on Sunday, February 15th at 10.00 am.

KIDZ: For those of you who dash out breathlessly of a Friday morning to buy your copy of The Observer, we should add a final reminder of the KIDZ meeting this afternoon, Friday the 6th, 4.30 pm in the Village Hall. All that’s needed at this point is advice, ideas, resources, and above enthusiasm and a sense of fun.

CONTACT: If you have anything for the Village Voice, we may be contacted on 880614 or via mountfieldvv@hushmail.com

Peter and Valerie Miles

mountfieldvv@hushmail.com