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Ernie Roythorne: 1907~2000

Ernie Roythorne died in May, 2000. A wonderful man, he was born in April 1907, in the village of Langham near Oakham. He was one of 13 brothers and sisters.

Due to illness he missed a lot of schooling and had long stays in hospital, but eventually he went to work on the land, and whilst at Freeby he met his beloved Bess. They met at Wyfordby railway crossing and, because Bess had to be home in Melton by 9pm, Ernie would walk her home and then bike back to Freeby.

Ernie and Bess married in 1940, at a time when he was working for the late Lord Gretton of Stapleford Park. They set up home in Wymondham in a small cottage at the bottom of the village.

He was very proud of his family, and worked hard to support them – nothing stopped him from going to work at Holygate Farm. He would walk through snowdrifts, dry out in the bothy, and then get on with the day’s work. Few people these days would even contemplate a walk from Wymondham to Stapleford.

Ernie knew of the weather, about animals, the stars, the seasons. He was a man who could drive tractors, lay hedges and work with horses. He had a variety of interests, including Cycling (being a member of the Melton Wheelers); Darts (he played for local teams); Cricket; Bowls; Cribbage; and Gardening – for many years he had an allotment in the village.

One of his passions was working with ‘Lordy’ (the late Lord Gretton) on his steam engines – both the miniature railway around the lakes and also the restoration of the real thing.

He thought a lot of this village. He used to mow all the village greens, and he and Bess were Caretakers of the Village Hall. He chopped sticks, selling the sacks of firewood in aid of the Welcome Club, in whose company he enjoyed a game of Whist.

During all of their life together you would not find him far from his beloved Bess. They were a team. Ernie was proud of his family and loved his grandchildren. When they asked, “What’s for dinner?” they would be told “Leg of liver with the bones cut out or Custard Roll!” He loved to know about them and also later his great grandchildren.

Above all, Ernie Roythorne will be remembered as an honest and dependable man who would help you if he could. He was not a church-going man, but he lived a full and faithful Christian life.

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