It was with such sadness that family, friends and neighbours heard of the death of Frank Ward aged 88, who passed away at The Laurels Nursing Home in Holton-cum-Beckering.
Frank was born on 20 July 1926 at what is now The Blackbirds guesthouse at Langworth and was one of 11 children.
Soon after his birth the family moved to Sturton where, upon leaving school at the tender age of 12, he went to work on a local farm starting with horse ploughs, then moving onto the first tractors.
At the onset of WWII he thought it wise to lie about his age and join the Royal Navy – but he was found out, added to which he was a land-worker – so was sent home.
Still keen to “do his bit” he signed up with the ATC and trained in aircraft recognition, becoming a member of the team that operated the searchlight at Bardney.
After the war ended, he went, with his two brothers, tree felling in Northamptonshire for a short while until aged 26 he met and married Violet fondly known as “Vi”.
They settled in Wragby where they remained for more than 50 years.
Frank worked at the Old Holmes Woodyard as a crane driver, then at Wragby Plastics and, for the final years until his retirement, at Thorne’s Beehives.
During those years he did many things, but he was most proud of serving in the Fire Brigade at Wragby for more than 30 years.
He was one of the two with an HGV license so attended every call, often missing family events but he always put “the job” first.
The fire at Flixborough made national headlines and Frank was there.
Upon retirement Frank took to his many hobbies, which included the great male pastime called “being in the shed”!
He enjoyed gardening, dancing, holidays and the occasional game of bingo.
He had a keen interest in All Saints Church, Wragby and was a supporter of Wragby Town Hall.
Having had a daughter and two sons, time came that he had grandchildren and his biggest love was seeing them all – memories of the silly hats, Christmas and birthday presents consisting of joke gifts – all such fun.
Sadly Vi died 18 years ago but Frank did his best to keep going.
Eventually he and June Wardle became close friends making his latter years very happy.
They travelled all over, going on cruises, dancing several times a week – a time for a number of years when it was a job to actually find him at home.
Unfortunately three years ago he suffered a massive stroke and was admitted to a nursing home, but June visited every day with the support of his family also.
Memories of Frank, to many in Wragby, include seeing him walking up to the shops – sometimes taking about two hours as he loved to stop and talk to people.
Frank was a true English gentleman and a Wragby Legend and will be missed by so many.
He is survived by Yvonne Cook – daughter, Graham and Nigel Ward – sons, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
The service of Thanksgiving for his life was held at All Saints Church, Wragby, where the Rev Mark Holden officiated.
Family mourners: June Wardle (partner); Yvonne and Keith Cook (daughter and son-in-law); Graham Ward (son); Nigel and Debbie Ward (son and daughter-in-law); Mark Pashley, Simon Ward, Connor Ward, Nicola Pashley and partner Greg Slocombe, Rebecca Ward and partner James Flello, Holly Ward (grandchildren); Laura Pashley, Shana Pashley, Adam Pashley, Josh Pashley, Tiago Pashley and Sabio Pashley (great-grandchildren); Glynis Humberstone (niece); Dean Humberstone (great-nephew); Kevin Price, Carol Jackson, David Newby (also representing Anita Newby, Georgina Newby and James Newby).
Guard of Honour: ex retained Fire Fighters - Allan Bruntlett, Johnny Boothby, Jack Whitaker, John Johnson; serving Fire Fighters - Watch Manager Neil Johnson, Crew Manager Kathy Dunn, Crew Manager Chris Lowe, Fire Fighters – Mark Raynes, Lyn Freeman, Angela Palmer.
Other mourners: Mrs Elkington; Marg Borad; Mrs R Segasby (also representing the Segasby family); Denise Ireland (also representing Sheena Flatters); Steven Ireland; Mr and Mrs Geoff Ward; Joan Water (nee Sharp); Gordon Sharp; Marie South (also representing Mrs J South, Audrey and Peter South); Joyce Knight; Audrey Simons; Sanda Russel; Edie Humphries; Mr and Mrs Wray (also representing Mr and Mrs Yule); Paul Smith (also representing Gill Smith and Thorne’s Beehives); Margaret and John Kane (also representing the family); Willy Whylie; Georgina Laming; Colin Barber; Dorothy Warr (also representing the Warr family); Alan and Vera Smart (also representing Tilly Martin); Mr J Towriss and Amanda; Mr J Jones; Mrs Robinson; Kay and Johnny Franklin; Steve Alcock; Mick Prescott; Tony Lee; Pauline Cooper and Doug Clarke; Anne Green and Jackie Osborne; Mr and Mrs B Lingard; Carol Garbutt; Chris and Sally Cushing; Eric Taylor; John Edwards (also representing Dennis Edwards); Sarah Bellhouse; Shaun Murphy (also representing the Murphy family); Marie and Dayle Clark; Mr and Mrs W Smeeton; D Sharp; Ruth Patrick (also representing the Sharp families); Edna Newton; Caroline Brader (also representing Susan Bryce and The Laurels Nursing Home); Nigel and Jenny Smith (also representing Natasha, Annouska, Amber and Georgia and carer); Dave Bratton (also representing Sandra Laking); Frank and Margaret Briggs; Dave Howsham; Anne and Tony Ward; Wendy Watson; Joyce and Cliff Dorr; Jean Welbourne and Jenny Kent (also representing the Steel family); Paul Johnson; Colin Knowles; Hayley O’Neil, Jason Goode and Logan; John Johnson (also representing Ann Johnson); Phil Ward (also representing Di Ward and Jean Lomas); Christine and Derek Fox.
Funeral arrangements made by The Co-operative Society.