Peter and Valerie Hall

Peter John Hall (1936 – 2015)
Valerie Odette Hall nee Sutton (1951 – 2015)
Glatton’s oldest native born resident, Peter John Hall, died on January 2nd 2015 followed on January 6th by his beloved wife Valerie Odette nee Sutton.

DDay14062014153Peter was born on December 28th 1936 the only child of Elsie Annie nee Black and John Henry Hall. At the time of his birth Glatton consisted of ca. 40 households, excluding outlying farms, with Grandparents, Uncles and Cousins occupying some of these. Most would have been aware of the event.

In the Church of St. Nicholas, Glatton, he was baptized, confirmed, attended Sunday School, became a choirboy, a young bell ringer and for many years from the age of 9 was responsible for constructing the Easter Garden. In January 1941, now aged 5, and carrying his gas mask, leather satchel (containing sandwiches – school dinners were introduced some years later) and accompanied by a little girl called Daisy, an evacuee from London’s West End, who had joined his family the previous summer; he waited with the other village children outside the old school (demolished 1970’s) for Chapman’s bus to deliver them to Conington Village school, ca. 3 miles away (always sitting in the same seats immediately behind the driver, Mr Chapman his 2nd cousin).

Peter continued his education at Peterborough Technical College, becoming an Apprenticed Electrical Engineer, during the course of which he spent some time working on submarines and warships in the Naval Dockyards at Portsmouth. He joined the Merchant Navy, became a Petty Officer and hoped to make it a career whilst travelling the world! However, an unfortunate accident to his foot curtailed his ambition, so he returned to Glatton and Peter Brotherhoods for a number of years before leaving to set up his own successful business. His ability to individually design, install and service the evermore diverse and complex systems required by the numerous local agricultural processing plants and industries, was soon recognized and he became much in demand. He relished the challenges these presented, very often working throughout the night until the problem was solved.

Valerie Odette, 4th child of Nancy and George Sutton, was born in Conington on December 19th 1951. She was baptized, attended Sunday School and later took her Confirmation in All Saints Church, Conington

She attended Holme Infant Junior School, because by the time Valerie was five, Conington had become one of the many small rural schools to close its doors. She completed her education at Sawtry Village College, where her flare and ability in Art and Handicraft was recognized and encouraged.

After leaving College, Valerie continued to enjoy and extend her repertoire, adding sewing, knitting and collage work and, although she considered it to be her hobby, all of these skills were fully utilized in dressing her young family.

img014Peter and Valerie were married in All Saints Church, Conington on July 21st 1973. Their happy marriage resulted in three children; David, born in 1975, Georgina in 1978 and Jane in 1984. It was much later that Valerie was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Consequently, on July 21st 2012, in that same church (especially opened) Valerie and Peter, supported by their loving family and friends, Re Affirmed their Vows to one another in a moving ceremony, conducted by the Reverend Gordon Limbrick.img013 The following year in July 2013, Valerie and Peter felt blessed when they celebrated their Ruby Wedding.

In partnership with Valerie (accountant and book keeper behind the scenes) Peter had been delivering the newspapers in Glatton for more than 30 years. Also, for the last c. 12 years, to both Conington and Holme. He was a member of the East Midland Newspaper Federation and for the last 5 years President of the Peterborough Newspaper Federation.

Peter became known on both sides of the Atlantic through his research, his long time connection with, and his historical knowledge regarding the four U.S. Army Air Force squadrons stationed at Glatton (Conington) aerodrome. The B17 ‘Flying Fortresses’ were a constant presence in Peter’s childhood during 1944 and 1945 so he was honoured to become a member of the Veterans and Friends of the 457 Bomber Group Association. He was also a member of both the Yaxley and Sawtry Royal British Legions. All three of these organizations were represented at the funeral and sent wreaths of remembrance.

In addition to all these activities Peter always had an abiding interest in local history, building up quite a fount of knowledge, in particular on one of his favourites, the beautiful and ancient Conington Church. More recently he had concentrated his attention on Holmewood Hall. His research, including visiting the University libraries in Cambridge, proved very rewarding for he was able to uncover some of its many intriguing wartime secrets. His scholarship regarding both of these sites was considerable, enabling him to give a number of extremely interesting and well attended talks, and more were planned.

He was a true polymath. The range of his interests was wide and the depth of his knowledge of each was considerable. An amusing raconteur, Peter was happy to communicate his latest findings to his audience; the stories could be educational or anecdotal but all would be delivered with his usual fluency, sense and good humour.

Valerie and Peter had chosen to be buried together with the peaceful country churchyard of All Saints Conington, where they had married.
Many of Peter’s ancestors, including his mother and Grandparents, lie in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Church, Glatton.
All are threads (some more colourful than others) woven into Glatton’s rich historical Tapestry.

Author: B. Jefferies (Daisy).
January 2015.
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