Richard (Dick) Sheldrake, died 30th December 2011 aged 80 years
From the Parish News – March 2012
It was little more than a year ago when we reported on the death of Dick's brother Ronnie, and once again the local community filled Denton St. Mary's Church almost to capacity in recognition of another member of this well respected family. The memorial service was led by the Rev. Linda Butler and Dick was interred in Denton Churchyard.
Richard was born in Sunnyside Cottages, Norwich Road, and moved with the family of eleven to the council houses on Trunch Hill when he was 5 years old, which the Sheldrake family occupied until shortly after Ronnie died which was a span of 75 years. He was educated with the rest of the family at Denton School, on leaving which he started work with Jack Ansdell, at Sidges Lane. He was always ready to give a helping hand to any of the farms along Middle Road, particularly with Jimmy Brooks at Hall Farm and he became a close friend of Ivor Constance where he used to help out with the horses. When he married his first wife Joyce he moved to a cottage at Piedbridge Farm, Alburgh working with Jack Denny. While there Joyce gave birth to their two daughters Sue and Linda. Dick then moved on to work at Gawdy Hall where they lived for over thirty years in a cottage at Church Lane, Redenhall until he retired to Harleston.
Sadly in 1979 Dick lost his wife Joyce. He later married Brenda Riches who had recently lost her husband Ronnie through the result of a brain tumour. Brenda had two children Paul and Sue who joined the family. The fact that Brenda happened to be to be sister to Dick's sister-in-law Glenys, gathered an already close knit family even closer together.
Dick's working life was summed up in a testimony written by David Green, farm-manager at Gawdy Hall Estate which was read at the Service. David mentioned his reliability and dedicated service over the thirty plus years that he had worked on the estate.
He was indeed a true countryman who lived by and loved the land and all aspects of the countryside. A meticulous gardener, his vegetables always took pride of place in his garden where no weed was allowed to show its face! He also enjoyed mechanical challenges, always ready to help sort out and maintain cars, tractors and any garden equipment which needed attention. One recreation he particularly enjoyed was Country and Western dancing where he and Brenda were sometimes joined by other members of the family.
His family was however the most important aspect of his life and meant everything to him - he never needed to look any further for contentment than within his family circle. The surprise 80th birthday party held at Withersdale Village Hall last June gave him immense pleasure, but sadly his health failed soon after and he died peacefully in All Hallows Hospital six months later.
Our sympathy and condolences go to Brenda, Sue and Roger, Linda, George and grand–daughter Melissa; also to his stepchildren Paul and Angie with daughter Sophie; Sue and Stuart with Joanne and James, together with his sisters Joyce and Heather and his many other relatives and friends to whom he radiated his Love and Friendship.