Peter James Hipwell 1st May 1925 – 20th August 2008
From the Parish News – October 2008
Peter and Christine Hipwell moved to Denton twelve years ago, during which time they joined in many village activities such as Bowls, Women's Institute, organising ticket sales for the DVC and generally giving help where ever it was needed, they soon made many friends. Sadly Christine died of cancer following a serious heart illness in 2003, during which time Peter nursed her for two years with loving care and affection. Her death affected him very deeply, and for the remainder of his life he was but a shadow of his old self and found it difficult to cope with the loneliness after fifty-four years of a devoted married life.
However he made the most of his remaining years by joining in the social life of the village and even revealed some of his old pioneering spirit when he travelled far and wide, even as far as Beccles on his mobility scooter. His memorial service, which was held at Denton St. Mary's on September 4th, attracted a full congregation who heard his three sons and a daughter pay an affectionate tribute to him. They told of his great passion for flying which when the 2nd, World War started caused him to leave his farming career and volunteer for the RAF. He trained as a Flight Engineer, and he chose to go on B24 Liberators, as this plane had twin controls which would allow the Flt. Engineer to take over the controls as co-pilot on occasions. The Pathfinder squadron he was with went to Palestine and N. Africa in the later stages of the war and flew sorties over Italy dropping supplies to the allied forces.
His engineering training brought to light a mechanical flair which lasted throughout the rest of his life, and was put to good use when he returned to his farming career after being demobbed. He actually invented and patented a flow meter for measuring the quantity of milk, and a sugar beet thinner for thinning the rows of beet before rubbed seed allowed precision drilling. He was equally happy stripping down and re-boring an engine or repairing the tractors or combine. His expertise also included electronics as he built a television, on which the family watched the Coronation and a radiogram during his lifetime.
Janet told of the tragic loss of his mother when he was only sixteen months old and he and his older sister Pat were brought up by an elderly aunt. Although he spoke with great affection for his Auntie Tot they never experienced the true love and care of a mother. His father at this time was farming in Hertfordshire, Peter told tales of his experience working with horses and his excitement when the first tractors arrived on the scene. When aged thirteen his father re–married, but relations with his step-mother were not good and after leaving school he left home to find work on other farms eventually ending up in Wiltshire.
On leaving the RAF he returned to Wiltshire where he met Christine, who was the daughter of the farm-manager where he was employed and they were married in 1948. Twins Janet and John were born in Wiltshire, however in 1954 they moved to Stanningfield, near Bury St. Edmunds where he acquired the tenancy of his first farm of 250 acres. It was here that Adrian and Martin were born, and here the family grew and have fourteen years of many happy memories of their life on the farm. In 1970, Adrian recalled, Peter was looking for a larger farm and acquired the tenancy of Park Farm, Earsham which was then 750 acres, he continued here until 1990 when he retired and he and Christine moved to Ditchingham.
Many people recall their happy memories of working with Peter at Earsham, he had a particular association with the younger generation who always respected him and enjoyed his company and sense of humour. His final year was spent in Holmewood Nursing home in Bungay, where again he enjoyed helping where ever possible, such as running errands and shopping on his scooter. He unfortunately had a fall when he broke his pelvis, he had around six weeks in hospital, but a chest infection turned to pneumonia and took his life.