My Dad was born in Bulwall, Nottingham on the 28th July 1915. He and his sister Doreen were the children of John and Maude Braybrook. His family were regular churchgoers and, as Dad grew old enough, he used to assist the organist by pumping the organ. After the service the organist would allow him to play the instrument, and in this way Dad taught himself to play the organ. His ability to do so was to stand him in good stead in later life.
Leaving school at the age of fourteen he entered into a four year apprenticeship to become a Master Butcher, a trade he practised until he joined the RAF at the beginning of the war. Drafted into the RAF Catering Group, he was initially stationed in Lyneham before being posted to Vancouver in 1941. His organ playing had developed to such an extent that he was often excused duties as a cook in order to play at church services and a variety of social occasions around the locality.
Before being posted to Vancouver Dad had met Lily Mills, a Wiltshire girl from Purton near Swindon. They were married in Wootton Bassett on October 17th 1940. In 1944 Dad returned to Lyneham and, after being demobbed in 1946, moved back to Nottingham with Mum and my brother Brian, who had been born in 1941. It was in Nottingham that I, Sheila, was born in November 1946. During all this time Dad continued to play the organ and his services were much in demand for church and social functions.
In 1952 Mum and Dad decided to move back to Wiltshire, and it was then that they bought the butcher’s shop in Fovant High Street from Frank Targett. It was a very small shop that they managed quite well for a time, but as they got busier Dad had a cutting room built at the back of the shop. Word of the quality of the meat spread far and wide – a couple who lived in Corby, Northamptonshire would come down monthly to stock up on the meat that Dad sold. Despite being so busy Dad still found time to do what he loved most – playing the organ in church. He bought an organ for himself so that he could practise every night.
As the years took their toll Mum passed away at home in 1988 and Dad, no longer able to cope without her, closed the shop. He spent his time either in the house or with me and my family in Salisbury. In 1992 Dad suffered another setback when my brother Brian died. Shortly after this crushing blow, Dad, after attending hospital for tests, was diagnosed as having cancer. After an operation he came to live permanently with me in Salisbury until on 14th December 1993, he passed away at our home, with me and my husband Gerry beside him.
I not only lost my Dad, whom I loved very much, but the village lost a very special person.
Content last updated
2 April 2009
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