Securing our history for the future

RIP Ron Wilkins.

The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Bawdrip was filled to overflowing by relatives and friends in December to mourn Ron’s passing and to celebrate his life.

He was a well-known and well-liked member of the community in which he had lived for most of his life. Everybody who knew him described him as a ‘lovely man.’ David Gwilliam of Gwilliam Kellands where Ron had worked for many years before his retirement gave a very moving address.

When Ron was a young child (he was one of five children) his family moved from Priston near Bath to the Bridgwater area. His father worked in various jobs on local farms including for many years at Cockerhurst Farm in Wembdon.

Ron attended Cannington Primary school before moving to Westover secondary school. As was normal in those days Ron left school at fifteen and found work in Kellands in Cannington. He spent his working life with Kellands as a parts man / storekeeper moving between various of the Kellands’ enterprises including a horticulture shop and tractor franchise. His brother Ken remembers how Percy Thrower was due to open this enterprise, but the day was so foggy, a real ‘peasouper’ so very few people managed to attend the splendid opening!

His father bought a small holding in Bawdrip and Ron moved to work at Gwilliams in Edington for the remainder of his working life. when Gwilliams took over Kellands. A man with great foresight, he insisted that all the old spares were transferred out to Edington with him when he moved to Gwilliams. With an encyclopedic knowledge of spare parts and numbers he was always able to help out customers by locating that vital spare part for an old piece of machinery. So well-known was he, that on his retirement he had a whole page dedicated to his career in the trade magazine,

Ron spent his retirement on the small farm and was totally content to lead a life which could have been a model for ‘The Good life’ with a few pigs and sheep and a vegetable garden which was his pride and joy.

Visitors could rely on being presented with one of his prize cabbages. His was a life of make do and mend and of working and helping other members of the community.

The church was also very important to him and he loved evensong. Also, he was always willing to put his hand to helping maintain the churchyard so that our beautiful church could be seen to its best advantage.

Ron’s other passion was skittling and he was a regular on the unique uphill alley at the Knowle Inn. He captained teams and organised for many years until creaky knees syndrome caught up with him.

As a fitting memorial a display of fine vegetables accompanied his coffin. Ron was one of the world’s cheery folk, and he always had time for a chat, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

One cannot do better than quote the words on one of the bouquets of flowers on his grave to capture the essence of his completely fulfilling life – you will continue to live on through the memories.’