Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Roy Allen

Ranger Kirsty Drew and I attended Roy Allen's funeral. He was just short of his 85th birthday. This what we wrote together afterwards:

Today we said “Bon  Voyage”  to Roy Allen who was our first mid week volunteer at Paxton Pits.  He started about 15 years ago when the first Senior Ranger was appointed and the Hayden Hide at Paxton Pits Nature Reserve was being built. Senior Ranger Ron Elloway was laying out the path to the Hayden Hide and Roy just joined in.  He was then involved with the practical work on the reserve for many years and even when the heavy practical tasks became too much for him, he continued to help in other ways.  Until 2010, he was still doing two site checks each week for us, and  he was in his eighty’s.  He was usually the first person on site to open up the toilets, sweep them out and get them clean ready for the public .  He was reliable, good natured and always had a positive outlook on life.  He was such a valuable volunteer who was always willing to help in whatever way he could.

Roy moved to Little Paxton with his wife Mary when he worked for Eaton Tractors as an engineer, but he always considered the village of Lilley, near Luton, to be his home and often returned. It’s still very much a village by all accounts, but no longer has any shops. In Roy’s day everyone worked in agricultural engineering or at the nearby Vauxhall factory, but he had to do his National Service first, which took him to India. Unlike most conscripts, he absolutely loved it!

Being an engineer meant that Roy could fix almost anything from tractors to harrows, but he really had a passion for motorcycles. We remember seeing him on his 750 cc Honda combination which he still kept at home, but his interest went much deeper than that.  Every summer he would decamp to the Isle of Man for the TT races where he was a marshal for 50 years. He was rather upset when he couldn’t go any longer because they brought in an age limit of 70 for marshals for safety reasons.

In his retirement (if you could call it that) he became responsible for all the sales and exhibitions for Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association and helped to fundraise for the “Battle of Britain Memorial Flight” based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. As well as going to committee meetings in Lincolnshire, he attended regular events when the “Lanc”, the “Spit” and the “Hurricane” took to the air or provided static displays on the ground. Roy almost single handedly kept Little Paxton village post office going, especially near Christmas when he dealt with all the Christmas card orders for the Lincolnshire’s Lancaster Association. 

Back at the Reserve, he never liked to sit still or to see something undone that needed doing, which meant he kept himself very busy;  and us too. He was our eyes and ears when we weren’t around and he fostered a little group of volunteers who gathered at the Visitors’ Centre on Mondays and Fridays to litter pick and site check the Meadow Trail and car park. This group, which includes David Devonshire and John Green, still continues to meet: We keep expecting Roy to walk in for a chat.  

We were all very fond of Roy and we feel pleased to have known and worked with him.  He will be missed greatly.