Sunday, 14 August 2022

Woodcraftsman death

DONALD (Don) Williams passed away at Winterbrook Nursing Home in Wallingford on January 31, aged 84.

DONALD (Don) Williams passed away at Winterbrook Nursing Home in Wallingford on January 31, aged 84.

He had been at Winterbrook for the last two years following a spell in the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and Townlands Hospital in Henley.

Don was born in Shamley Green, Surrey, in 1931, the only child of Matthew and Esther Williams.

Growing up in the Guildford area, Don left school at 15 and became an apprentice carpenter.

Called up for National Service, Don joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and served in Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine.

On completing his National Service, he went to work delivering eggs. This was an onerous job as rationing was still in place in post-war Britain.

If Don had any eggs left over he was able to swap them for things like margarine and flour, which were still being rationed and he could take home to his mother to help feed the family.

While delivering eggs in 1953 he met his future wife Kathleen and they were married in 1956.

Don’s mother Esther said that Kath had stolen her baby. Don and Kath had four children, three girls and a boy.

Don set up in business with his father as an agricultural contractor and spent many hours in the fields around Guildford on a variety of tasks.

Later he left the business to go to work at the local golf club as a groundsman.

He also worked as an ice cream man for Wall’s and drove coaches for Bicknell’s Coaches in Godalming, near Guildford.

He e worked on local runs as well as on coach tours, driving as far north as Scotland. The family moved to Swyncombe in 1969 when Don took up a position on the Swyncombe estate as a chauffeur/handyman.

The family lived on the estate until 1977 when Don left to become a delivery driver for ATS, which later became ANC.

Taking early retirement in the Nineties on health grounds, he returned to working with wood.

Initially Don set himself up in his shed as a wood turner but later began making wooden tent pegs and would demonstrate his skills all over the country at craft and country shows.

This was something that he had to give up as his health deteriorated but he had fond and happy memories, which he would often recount with family members and friends.

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