Goodbye, Mr Pucklechurch

PEOPLE in Pucklechurch have been celebrating the life of Les Whittock, a village stalwart for more than 60 years.

Les, who died in August, aged 98, founded and was involved in many organisations and was a parish councillor for nearly 30 years.

“Of all the people in the village, he was ‘Mr Pucklechurch’,” said one tribute.

He even played Father Christmas in the village for many years.

Les and his wife Mary and their young family arrived in what was then a small village in the post-war years. Les was an agricultural worker at Cranford Farm. After a slipped disc ended this work, he began a career in driving.

His first public role was as a representative of the Congregationalist chapel on the committee that ran the village hall in the old Miners’ Institute.

He also became involved with fundraising through the annual Revel and later the beer festival towards a replacement hall, which had become increasingly needed as the village grew.

After decades of volunteer efforts by Les and others, a new hall finally opened in 1980.

Les was a founder of the Pucklechurch Folk Dance Club in 1976 and helped bring short mat bowls to the village in 1991. He also helped run the youth club and was a member of Pucklechurch Gardening Club for more than 45 years.

He is survived by daughters Molly and Anne.

His well-attended funeral at St Thomas a Becket church on September 25 was conducted by the Rev Richard Westacott, with a tribute by fellow villager Alan Holder.

Les Whittock, second right, at the beer festival at Pucklechurch House in 1977