Thursday, 21 January 2021

Charity sale item that delivered a little extra

AN old framed photograph bought at a Sue Ryder sale in Nettlebed has been returned to

AN old framed photograph bought at a Sue Ryder sale in Nettlebed has been returned to the family of the people in it — with the help of the  Henley Standard.

Helen Chilvers, from Kingwood, had bought the frame but couldn’t bear to throw out the picture, so she wrote to the paper asking if anyone recognised the two “lost boys” in the black and white image from the Twenties.

Fellow reader Janice Stow, of King’s Close, Henley, recognised the youngsters as her father George Butler and his brother Ken and that the photo was taken on the doorstep of their home in Warren Row, near Wargrave, around 1925 when her father was about four and her uncle about two.

She contacted the paper, which put the women in touch and Helen gave the photograph to Janice and received some flowers in return.

Janice said she had no idea how the photo came to be in the sale and she had not seen it before.

“There won’t have been many copies as my grandparents were working class and not well off, so it’s amazing that they had the picture taken,” she said.

The little boys grew up to be “strapping lads” and Ken was 6ft 3in.

Janice said her father would be horrified by the scuffs on his shoes in the photo as he went on to serve in the Coldstream Guards, where he made sure his shoes had a perfect shine.

The brothers worked as landscapers, George for Waterers Landscapers, now called ISS Facility Services Landscaping.

Janice said: “Many local people will have gorgeous gardens created by my father. He had real visionary skills and had a beautiful garden at his home in Crazies Hill.

“The Henley Standard featured his work some years ago as he planted the oaks on Fair Mile for the coronation when he was working for Waterers. They both loved life and were known for their sense of humour. Sadly, they are no longer with us and, along with their younger brother, my uncle Bob, they are all much missed.

“How kind of Helen to think about writing to your paper. Most people would have just thrown it away. I was so excited when I saw the picture, I thought, ‘what are they doing in the paper?’ My sister Sue and I are so happy to have the photo back in the family.”

Helen said: “I just could not chuck it away. I had to do my due diligence — I had to try to find who the boys were.”

Janice now plans to try to solve the mystery of how the frame came to be in the charity sale.

• The two women also discovered they have a mutual friend, Victoria Page, who is Janice’s next door neighbour.

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