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A VILLAGE CHORISTER REMEMBERS

Anecdotes from the late Fred O'Dell collected
 by Sue Malleson in or about 1982.

The choirboys had lots of fun in those days.  Percy Barden was a great joker. There were three men in the choir, and one, Mr Poulson, had a glass eye. The choirboys all tried to sit on his glass eye side so that he couldn't see them. Ben Martin used to put a penny in his eye like a monocle and make the others laugh. The penny would fall out and roll down the aisle.

When the Revd Sidney Charles Barnby lost his glasses one Sunday they were perched on his head. None of the choirboys would tell him where they were, so instead of reading the lesson, he recited it from memory. 

The first motor car in the village was owned by Revd Barnby and he took a confirmation group of choirboys to Fenny Stratford in this car. He rounded a bend rather fast and threw them all in a heap on the floor.

There used to be a pipe organ in the church which was pumped by hand.  Jack Morris and Fred O'Dell were pumping one Sunday when Jack's cat, a tabby named Bubbles, decided to come to church.  Mr Ross, the blacksmith, tried unsuccessfully to put it outside but each time the door opened, it ran in again.  Jack's Uncle Sam, the organist for approximately 35 years, was playing when the cat jumped on the bellows and became so frightened that it burst through the ply panelling at the front of the organ and the boys got into a lot of trouble.

Mr O'Dell's father, Horace, a Church Warden for 49 years, told his son this tale:  Mr Andrew Wootton, builder and undertaker, built some new pews for the church.  He made his own varnish and it did not dry quickly enough.  When the congregation had been sitting on the pews for a while and they became warm, the varnish got sticky and they all stuck to it.

 

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