Sydney Noel Makin

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A service of Thanksgiving for the life of Sydney Noel Makin (known to all as Noel) was held at All Saints Church, Holton-cum-Beckering on Wednesday, April 4, officiated by the Rev Canon Alan Robson, followed by internment at Holton.

He sadly passed away, peacefully, at Lincoln County Hospital on March 25, aged 94, a much-loved husband to the late Vicky (who passed away in February 2003) and is survived by sons John and Peter and daughter Jane.

Noel, born in 1917, was a man of public and political action, a teacher and lecturer, a student of philosophy and quiet contemplater. He was also a determined fighter against war.

Brought up in Sheffield, his father being a silversmith and his mother, the only child of a small-time cutlers in the ‘little mester’ tradition. It was during his school days that he was profoundly affected by the horrific picture of the First World War given in books like All Quiet on the Western Front and the discrepancy with the heroic accounts offered by the Illustrated London News and similar reports.

As part of his attempt to make sense of that, he organised a branch of the League of Nations Union at his grammar school.

One of his early jobs was that of a shop walker, or store detective, at Cole Brothers in Sheffield. It was there that he met Vicki Lester, the daughter of a Methodist minister and they married in 1940.

During the early war years he trained as a ‘sparks’ or radio officer and was shipped out of Hull on the Harrison Line’s Harmatris. While ashore in India the ship’s doctor thought he detected a weak heart, which Noel said must have been due to his chain smoking, and he was duly sent home.

Meanwhile, his extensive reading, a Quaker abhorrence for the taking of life and long discussions with Vicky led to him registering as a Conscientious Objector.

His CO tribunal accepted his position and directed him to find work on the land during the war so he and Vicky set out to find a smallholding on which they could both work. It was during that time that they found employment with several farmers.

In the spring of 1943 Noel and Vicky arrived at Bleasby Grange Farm, near Legsby, to join the Lincolnshire Farm Training Scheme in answer to an advert from this CO group for a garthman.

The LFTS had been set up by Dick Cornwallis and Roy Broadbent, on advice from the Peace Pledge Union, as an organisation to train unemployed COs in the skills required for farming sheep, pigs, cows and arable crops.

Later in the same year, when Roy and Dee Broadbent purchased Ivy Lodge Farm and the Glebe, several members of the LFTS left to go to Holton Beckering.

The idea was to work with another group of COs already installed at The Laurels Farm, under a single foreman. This group had already been established by the Peace Pledge Union itself in 1941 and was called the Community Land Training Association.

The two groups worked co-operatively with Noel and Vicki living first at The Glebe, with the Broadbents, and later at Ivy Lodge Farm.

As the community broke up at the end of the war, its various assets were disposed of: consequently Noel and Vicky moved across the road to live in the hall on January 1, 1948.

There they provided lodgings and food for the local farm workers. That business did not thrive so Noel decided to train as a teacher and did a one-year emergency course at Bamber Bridge from 1950-1951, where one of his lecturers was the writer Anthony Burgess.

Following the training Noel worked as a supply teacher at several local schools, both secondary and primary, and spent many years as headteacher at Legsby County Primary School, near Market Rasen.

It was while there that he taught children from Holton and Legsby including his sons John (born 1944), Peter (born 1946) and daughter Jane (born 1954).

The Holton contingent was taken to school each day in his car, which for a while was a 1923 Rolls-Royce. His teaching style was rather of the ‘don’t smile till Christmas’ type.

Teaching did not pay adequately either so Noel decided to raise pigs for bacon or pork, using the skills he had acquired during the war. At one time there were 50 to 60 animals to feed, muck-out and tend, and he said the pigs paid for the family to have a car.

In 1963, abandoning teaching and the pigs, he went to Nottingham University to study philosophy and English, something he had always wanted to do, and completed his studies with an M.Phil.

Leaving university in 1966 he was head-hunted by Bishop Grosseteste Teacher Training College to become a lecturer there. At that time there were very few people with primary school teaching experience together with academic qualifications.

He remained at the college until his retirement, when he then enjoyed his vegetable garden, maintaining the hall, along with his enthusiasm for food, wine and politics.

Funeral arrangements were made by J Marshall Funeral Directors, 49-51 Queen Street, Market Rasen, LN8 3EN. Donation may be made payable to St Barnabas Hospice and sent to the address above.

Family mourners at the service were: John and Brenda Makin (son and daughter-in-law); Peter Makin (son); Jane Nutting and Shaun Washington (daughter and partner); Tom and Celia Makin-Bell, Pete and Alana Nutting, Jim Nutting and Naomi Wiles, Sam Nutting (grandsons and wives); Kate and Ged Lomas Nutting (granddaughter and husband); Theo and Lauren Nutting; Felix Makin-Bell (great-grandchildren).

Friends and other mourners: Martin and Hilary Farley, Jennie Kerrigan, Roger Ellis, Sue Rose, Fred Horton, Ruth England, Mary Walker, Margaret Hatfield (also representing Keith and Tazza Ramsey, Mr and Mrs Ranyard (also representing M and C Dawson), Dudley and Liz Thomson, Bill and Marion Goodhand, Graham McAdam, A Johnson, Bruce Moore, Joe Sternfield, Alan Nutting, Andrea Latchem, Elizabeth Williams, Mike Perkins, Nick and Sue Handley-Jones, Sally Lunn, Jim McHale, Paul Hancocks, Simon Young, Martin Young, Mr and Mrs Marshner, John Hebden, Arthur Adams, Wendy Adams, Caron Hunt (Macmillan Nurse), Elizabeth Forbes-Bryson, Mr P Harrod, Mr S Rose, Mrs E Dickman, Mr A Wilmot, Miss A Brown, Mrs E Martin (also representing K Martin and L Martin), Mr and Mrs H Bourn (also representing Richard Stamp), Ann Stamp and Cecil Pycroft, M and N Wiles, Linda Tilbury (also representing Tina and Bob Speck), Adam Lomas, Jean Lomas, Rachel Lee, John Davies, Tina Sharpington, Paul Wetherby, Mrs Edgar, David Dickins, Phyllis Walshaw, Nick and Maggie Walshaw, Eileen Espin, Mrs P Peacock, Melissa Davis (also representing Julie and Tom), C Downend (also representing the Downend family), Sean Hollingworth, Alan Abbey, Kate Abbey, Mr S Thornalley, Chris Walshaw, Beverley Nell, Mr C Ballard, Cathy Brogan, Stephen Ballard, Mr McIntyre, John and Lyn Anderson, Mrs Claire Lee (also representing the family), Don Sutherland, Thelma Surfleet (also representing Derek Nawton), Charlotte and David Broughton, Cheryl Mumby, Chris Anderson (also representing Rosemary Anderson and The White Hart at Lissington).