Updated: Mar 3
Below you will see a copy of the brief autobiography the Late Rev'd Norman Davies wrote about his life and which was read at his funeral service recently.
The word running through my life has been …”fortunate”.
Fortunate in the love and care of my parents in what I subsequently realised were difficult times. i.e. war-time with its dangers, separations, hardships and rationing. But to a small boy it was full of interest…tanks, aircraft, drama, bombings, generous Americans (with chewing gum to give away), and enemy prisoners who carved wooden toys for small boys. I have always admired all that my parents’ generation, in their millions, coped with and achieved in and just after WW2.
Fortunate in the Headmaster of my West Berkshire village primary school, Mr Nicholas. Combining commitment and iron discipline, he kept our noses to the grindstone, yet made us eager to learn. Fortunate in my senior school, which had boarders and day boys. Most of the masters were recently back from war service, and gave their pupils their time generously, nurturing lifetimes’ interests in literature, music, and sport, especially rugby and cricket.
My early working career was with two large insurance groups. This took me to Leicester, Southampton, Bournemouth, Bristol and later to be based in the city of London. There were professional exams over 6 years. I was fortunate in much of the interest of the work and the many pleasant people I met. I played cricket and rugby (usually badly) in these various places and was Hon secretary of Bournemouth RFC.
In my 30s, a career switch took me to theological college, and then ordination. My good fortune continued when I became curate at Walton parish church, Felixstowe. The vicar, Canon Ken Wakefield, was a noted trainer of curates. He was also a sports enthusiast, known affectionately as “a saint in the pulpit, but a demon on the bowling green”. Ken also had a season ticket for Portman Rd. Curates had to take the weddings (of which there were plenty) when Ipswich Town were playing at home. But we didn’t mind!
I was fortunate indeed in going to Grundisburgh and Burgh and joined later by Boulge and Hasketon. These were fulfilling years living among friendly, helpful people. Indeed, I used to think they were more helpful to me, than I was to them. Anyway, I have always been grateful for the way in which they put up with their inexperienced Rector. They were golden years indeed. – Shared sorrows and shared happy times.
On retirement in 2004, there was the good fortune of retirement to Orford, Lorna’s home village. There were new friends, no more committees, and the privilege of retirement ministry in the Orford Five. i.e. with Butley, Chillesford, Iken and Sudbourne and sometimes beyond. Time for books-music-gardening-travels and still learning.
Fortunate in long-term friends, especially walking expeditions in UK and France with chums I was walking with at age 20 and still having our annual expedition in ripe old age 60 years later.
Fortunate-supremely-in meeting Lorna, and in being able to persuade her that the Vancouver hospitals might just manage without her. Lorna, to whom, in human terms I owe so much, well in truth everything. I leave her with my love for her and Samuel and Caroline.
Final Point. Norman would like you to know that..as a schoolboy at the Oval Test match in 1953 – he watched Len Hutton & Denis Compton (2 wonderful England batsmen) batting against Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller (2 scary but admirable Australian fast bowlers). And England won! But he also enjoyed watching cricket decades later in the beautiful setting of the Sudbourne Hall club. Indeed, at Sudbourne Hall C.C he was invariably given a free cuppa and a bun. Very Kindly!! (Perhaps to keep him quiet!).