VAL MILES: Just as our deadline for this column fell due, we received a call from Clare to say that her mum, Val Miles, passed away very peacefully last Friday (July 24th).

Val was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2014 and the survival prognosis wasn’t good. And yet, by sheer courage and her absolute positive attitude, she and Clare had a whole, very special year together. As soon as Val was diagnosed, Clare simply moved in with her and stayed with her till the end. Clare and her partner Ted were with Val when she went. She was in hospital but she simply slipped away quietly and gently, with no suffering. In Clare’s words, “It was the right time for Mum”.

The funeral arrangements were not known as we went to press but we should know them by the time this column is published so do please feel free to call us on the telephone number below for details. We also have Clare’s address should anyone wish to write; Clare would love to hear from anyone who knew Val — or Val and Mick. In the meantime, here again is the lovely piece that Val wrote for the Village Voice back in June last year:

“This is Val Miles (the 1st). To set the history books straight and relate a huge coincidence, I thought I’d send my own contribution to the Village Voice.

“My husband, Michael John Miles, and myself (the aforementioned Val) moved into Rock Cottage on 17th March, 1962 – our wedding day. No honeymoon for us, but a trip to Battle Cattle Market being a big day out. We set about making a home out of the derelict cottage we moved into, and raised our two children; Clare (born 1968) and Stephen (born 1970). They had an idyllic childhood, surrounded by countryside and wildlife, and unfettered by ‘health & safety’. They ran around naked in the garden when young, then got more adventurous, riding with a friend for Clare and abseiling in the woods for Steve.

“We enjoyed a very happy relationship with our tenant and next door neighbour, Miss Jessie Butters, which turned into a deep friendship over the next 30 odd years. What a wonderful, dear, kind lady she was. My husband worked so hard on our cottage and was forever rebuilding bits that were falling down. He never stopped, but sadly his health failed and he died in 1990.

“I managed to keep our home going for another eleven years but then had to make the decision to move on to Battle – heartbreaking, but necessary. At that time, Clare had been living in Miss Butters’ cottage next door and had renamed it ‘Butters Cottage’ in honour of that dear lady. We both decided to sell our cottages, and now comes the coincidence! The couple who fell in love with both cottages were Val and Peter Miles, who now write the Village Voice! What chance brought Val Miles the second to Rock Cottage after Val Miles the first had lived there for almost 40 years!

“I know how much Val and Peter love the cottages so that comforts me greatly, but when you see their names at the foot of the Village Voice it isn’t me that has remarried, it’s the Val who has been entrusted, with Peter, to become part of village history and carry on where that young couple with hopes and dreams in 1962 left their own small mark in Mountfield history.

“Sincerely, Val Miles (the 1st!)”

Our thoughts are with Clare, Stephen, other family and Val’s many close friends.

OTHER NEWS: We weren’t able to go to Mandy’s grand Strawberry Tea last Saturday as we had an emergency-filled changeover in our holiday cottage (we got the TV working with minutes to go and our incoming guests literally passed the departing plumber on the lane after he’d replaced the broken shower!) but we hope to have a report for you next week. Having got our new guests installed, a slightly pale and shaking Pete just made it for the prize-giving and raffle at the Flower Show. Once again, this was a model of organisation and some of the exhibits were absolutely stunning. Again, we will have more on this next week.

MOUNTFIELD CLUB: There is mixed news from the Club this week. Steve Smith, who has been such a stalwart in supplying the Village Voice with information and copy about the Club writes this week to point out that the people of Mountfield have a fantastic social club, right next to the Village Hall, with ample parking, a fully licenced bar, a flat screen TV, full size snooker table and more but the Club is still struggling and there is a real chance that, without better support, it is another village resource that could be lost. This column always mentions the various sporting activities and special events but the club is also a good place to just have a quiet drink (at prices you can afford) if that’s what you fancy.

On a happier note, the Mountfield Club’s gallant run in the Snooker Summer League took them to the quarter finals where they were finally beaten by Division 1 champions, Battle, over two legs. In the league stages they had beaten four second division teams. It really has been a good year for the snooker team having won division 3 winter league by 9 points. In the Club tournaments, Jack Bromley and Luke Hardy will take their place in the pairs semi final v Steve Smith and Ashley Sutton having beaten former champions Alex and Sam Gray.

The next big dates in the Club’s calendar are Saturday, August 15th when they will have a live band playing 60s and 70 hits — booking information to follow. Also in August, there will be a car treasure hunt — final date to be advised. And then the Club is planning a fund-raising quiz night for Saturday, September 12th.

The Club is at a crucial stage in its history so if you have any ideas for other events or fund-raising activities, do either call Steve Smith on 07720 298971 or contact your village voices, as below.

CONTACT: If you want detail’s of Val Miles’s funeral arrangements, or have any ideas for the Club, or any news for the Village Voice, we can be contacted on 880614 (evenings preferred) or via

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