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Latest Posts


Posted on 8th March, 2021
Bob Caudwell celebrated his 100th birthday in June last year. Sadly, we were not able to celebrate with him due to lockdown.It is with much sadness that we report that he died at home on 27th January, from prostate cancer. When he moved to Kent at the age of 76, to be nearer his son, he became the organist and choirmaster at Linton Church, where he became a well-loved member of the church. He also played at other churches in the Benefice to help out. We will all remember, fondly, his introduction to We Three Kings “full of eastern promise”and his impromptu rendering of secular Christmas songs at the end of our Carols Services.He liked the organ at West Farleigh as it has a theatre organ setting. He entertained the Evergreens, playing anything and everything without music, while the Evergreens enjoyed afternoon tea. He also used to play when Linton church had their Strawberry teas.Latterly Bob had to endure deafness and poor eyesight, playing hymns from memory, and with Margaret prodding him to tell him the vicar was ready to start the service etc.
A short clip of Bob playing West Farleighs Organ.
The smile at the end is directed to Margaret his friend and partner.
Bob served with the Liverpool Welsh tank Regiment in WW11. He served in Egypt, North Africa. Sicily, Italy andGreece, where he was a frontline infantryman. He conducted the regimental choir and his concerts were broadcast by the BBC.
Bob at the top of mount Etna during the war.
He later enrolled as a teacher and taught Maths, Science and Music. He gained the Licentiateship of the Royal Academy of Music and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.He will be missed by many and our condolences go to his family and close friend Margaret, with whom he enjoyed many holiday.


Posted on 8th March, 2021






Michael (Tonkin, 65) and Susanne (Knuth,57) had been looking for a house for three years, and are happy that they found Greenwood (the former home of Alf Board and his family).By trade Michael is a toolmaker and engineer who ran a shop fitting company for 30years in Croydon. He loves working on property is keen to repair and update their newhome. Susanne is from Germany living in England with Michael for the last 8 years. Sheloves gardening and is a student and practitioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu for over 20 years.








William and Alex Norman are very pleased to have moved into Elmscroft Houseat last. Renovation of the house started in April and for the last few months they have been the painters and decorators. William is no stranger to West Farleigh as Smiths Hall is his family home. Alex is also a Kent girl living in Sevenoaks as a child. They have spent the last decade living and working in London, Alex as an antique dealer and upholsterer.They have recently acquired a Dalmatian puppy, Roxy, and have also added a Golden Retriever puppy (Arnie) to the household.

To add to the family they are expecting their first child in the summer!





Julia has moved into Peacehaven, with her three dogs. She supports two young women with special needs. You may meet them when out for a walk with the dogs, when lockdown is eased. Julia enjoys walking in the countryside and also cycling. There areplenty of lovely places to walk and ride locally so we hope she enjoys her new home and environment.
Sharon and Ross married back in 2007. They had been living in Chatham before moving to our village. They have moved into the house previously own by Dave and Nickie Cheeseman, (who havenow moved to Hampshire to be nearer to their son Matthew). They are or “were” both heavily into fitness, having both completed the London Marathon as well as taking on numerous other challenges throughout the years. They are both animal lovers and the family is complete with cat Lucy and dog Bucky, both of which are rescues and will enjoy their new environment. 


Posted on 14th February, 2021



13.6.1966 – 26.12.2020


It is with sadness that we report the death of Paula. Paula was born in St Mary’s Cray to Daphne and James Haydon. She was known as the “wild one” by her school friends!

She had three children; Chris married with 2 children, Jayden and Danielle; Charlie, engaged with two children, Oliver and Tommy and Kaylie with no children. Kaylie has been in the Navy for 10 years. Her lovely partner John is also in the Navy. John kindly read, what Kaylie had written, at the funeral

Paula moved to Oliver North and became a member of West Farleigh Church,

Paula was a great cook and was only too happy to bake for church teas, she made amazingly light scones! One of our editors, Stephen Norman, said, the cupcakes Paula had made for the teas at Smiths Hall Open Day, were the best he had ever tasted.

She was quite open about being a recovering alcoholic, with 11 years of sobriety. It was on this journey that she found her faith. She was very proud of her achievement and went on to sponsor other people, going through the AA course.

Paula met George in the fellowship and he quickly became a big part of the family. They were extremely happy together.

Paula battled with and overcame breast cancer with a positive attitude. It was sad that cancer came to her again, but she continued to fight it to the end, with that positive attitude, taking on day at a time.

We shall miss Paula in the village, she had many friends. We shall remember her with fondness. Our thoughts are with George and her family.


Jim Patch and the LRDG - Part ll - Originally posted by Brian Cushing, Summer 2013


To access the document click here



Jim Patch and the LRDG - Part l - Originally posted by Brian Cushing on 27th May, 2013



This month's feature documents the wartime experiences (1940-1943)

of one of West Farleigh's most distinguished residents, Jim Patch.


To access the document, click here.  


Part 2 of this extraordinary story follows.....

Fireworks: a mixed blessing!

Posted on 15th December, 2019

A new tradition at West Farleigh are the Fireworks, expertly organised by the Sports Club.  About 1,600 people enjoyed them this year.  But not everybody looks forward to them...especially if they have dogs, cats and horses, as Mags Zak explains.


RIP Jamie Warren

Posted on 10th November, 2019


RIP Jamie Warren






Jamie sadly passed away on Sunday 29th September 2019. 


Jamie moved to Byways, Charlton Lane with her husband Ben in July 2018.  She and Ben had only just married and were refurbishing their home together.  Tragically their time together was cut short when Jamie lost her battle with cancer.


As neighbours we are honoured to have known Jamie.  She was like a ray of sunshine – and had one of the biggest smiles ever.  She was full of life, kind and always offering to lend a hand.


Jamie’s funeral took place on 14th October 2019 in her home county of Staffordshire.   Our thoughts are with Ben and both his and Jamie’s family at this very sad time.


Upon her death, Jamie had left strict instructions.  Firstly, that Ben should continue working on their home.  And secondly, that if anyone wanted to pay their respects they should do so by helping St Giles Hospice, rather than spending money on flowers that she wouldn’t get to enjoy.  Ben has set up a JustGiving page should anyone wish to donate – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rememberjamie

Pip Wakefield by Tim Hill

Posted on 22nd September, 2019

Alice (Pip) Wakefield

1915 -2019

by Tim Hill


Pip Wakefield died during the night of August 31st – 1st September.  She was West Farleigh’s oldest citizen and as old a person most of us have ever yet known.  While she did not shake the world, she had a life of great service to the community, along with an internal contemplation which was exemplary and which merits a longer memorial than can readily be given.



She was born in Gatley, near Manchester, and lived there until deciding to train as a teacher, which she did under Manchester Corporation’s sponsorship at St. Mary’s Training College, Bangor, Wales.  It was a rigorous and wide-ranging course, but when completed (still in the Depression) Manchester had no vacancies, so she took what was on offer in East Kent, which she always thought rather remote.   



Soon she moved to West Malling where she taught at the Boys’ School on the High Street until the 1950s.  Then Headship of West Farleigh School came up – with on-site accommodation – and she moved here.




She retired when the school closed – through lack of a sufficient pool of children locally – but remained until death in the house next door that she had bought with companion and fellow teacher, the late Sylvia Whittle. 




They had both reached retirement age at this point.  Former pupils regularly visited her until some of them (quite many actually) predeceased her.  She had efficiently taught them everything, from football to maths to music - and good behaviour.



 A bicycle was her early mode of transport.  She recounted how she and Sylvia (who was at that time in the Land Army) leapt from their machines into a ditch when the road was strafed by a German fighter during the war. 


Some of her pupils were also lost in an air raid.  Nevertheless, she later showed no rancour towards Germans who she met on the Continent, or from home in Kent.


Pip’s activities didn’t stop at teaching. She was Parish Clerk, PCC Secretary – always a staunch supporter of the church - conductor of the local choir, organist, cricket scorer – nothing seemed beyond the scope of her interests.  Outside the confines of the village she supported numerous charities, most notably Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, for which she lectured all-over, and received a certificate, long ago, for having raised (jointly with Sylvia, who was deaf) £50,000.   



They had a succession of trained dogs, which she loved.  She kept this going after Sylvia’s passing: a late disappointment to her was not being allowed to take on another dog when approaching her centenary. On principal she wouldn’t trap house mice and, latterly at least, hesitated to snuff the life out of an insect.

She was quite a keen traveller and drove abroad at a time when cars were lifted aboard ship by crane. 



Gardening was another interest.  She was a highly knowledgeable plantswoman.  She played the baby-grand piano with unfailing finger memory and was well-known for her ability to improvise and for her duets, especially with her friend Bun Balston.  [Click here to see Pip playing her beloved piano.]


Pip had an elder brother, Ernest, to whom she looked up, but his death, without issue, many years ago, left her without any close relations. It was he who was responsible for the nickname “Pip“, which she happily kept all her life. She maintained strong contact with Sylvia’s family, continuing a friendship of already sixty years at the time of her companion’s death. Though socially adroit, Pip didn’t particularly indulge much small talk – discussion usually had to be meaningful, concrete.  Perhaps this was because she was teacher through and through and could plainly identify limitations. Moreover, it has been said that courage is the most underestimated of the virtues.  Pip had this quality aplenty. Once, not that many years ago, she confessed to feeling a lack of point in “going on”, being overawed by the prospects. Then these personal qualities came into play.  She continued to look a bleak and lonely future plainly in the eye, while her bravery kept these feelings under control.   This kind of steadfastness was even more important than that open-hearted courage which kept her front door ever open without regard to any danger.  She displayed no concern for personal security.


She had lived on Lower Road for over 60 years and her passing both calls to mind and illustrates the deep changes that have occurred in the village.  No-one can have been more central to the life of the village during that long time.  She died in her own bed, never having had an extended stay in hospital or nursing home.   She will be missed, for it was a privilege to have known her.


Tim Hill





Posted on 7th July, 2019






                              Ron Taylor


                         8/11/46 – 2/5/19





Ron was born in Naples to Giovanna and Ernie in November 1946, his dad was with Allied Forces.  


Ron and his siblings Eve, Peter and Maria grew up in a loving family first in Belvedere and then in Northumberland Heath.  They all went to St Fidelis Primary School and then the boys went to St Stephens in Welling and the girls St Catherine’s in Bexleyheath. Ron’s claim to fame at school was the pen and ink drawing of the school which was framed and put up in the main reception area.


Following school, Ron went on to serve an apprenticeship with Alexander Sun Tugs and later qualified as a Marine Engineer. After spending a few years with Sun Tugs and being fished out of the river a number of times because he couldn’t swim, He moved to Stormont Trucks where he worked his way up, then he took a job at KT Trucks as Service Manager – where he collected a number of trophies from Fords as Service Manager of the Year. Finally, he set up his own motor repair service in Eltham which ran successfully until he changed track totally and worked as a manager at The Tudor Barn. Another step change found him as a ward housekeeper firstly in QE Hospital in Woolwich and finally in St Barthomew’s Hospital. He retired in 2012 just after moving to West Farleigh.  From then he did a couple of shifts a week in the Good Intent until he was unable to work, as he was having treatment for Cancer.


Ron met Jacky on 30th March 1967 in Floyds Coffee Bar, Belvedere, their first proper date was 2nd April which coincidentally is their eldest granddaughter, Charlotte’s birthday.  They married on 31st July 1971 and went to live in Eltham where they stayed for 39 years.  During that time they had two sons, Michael and Paul and made some lifelong friends all who have been an amazing support to the family during Ron’s fight with cancer over these past couple of difficult years.


Jacky and Ron decided they wanted to move away from Eltham, and for two years lived in Barnhurst. They used to come down to this part of Kent, quite often for lunches out and when they found the bungalow on Farleigh Green, they came, looked, had a drink in the Good Intent and decided it was the house for them.


Ron had perfected the art of Grumpiness. He was called Grumpdad and Grumple Ron as well as- miserable old sod –he had more mugs, slippers and socks with Grumpy this and Grumpy that than anyone.

On the other hand he was the most loving and caring person. He loved both his close and extended family. He also treasured the relationship he had with his sister Eve and brother in law Bob. He had many friends, from Eltham and locally. His Good Intent friends called him Rocket!  Why??


He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends.



Posted on 23rd January, 2019

Welcome to Oliver Penman


Stuart and Helen Penman, residents of St Helens Lane, married in September 2016 in All Saints West Farleigh. Little Oliver was born on !9th April 2018.




Stuart is an accountant working for BAE Systems on Rochester Airfield. Helen is a Children’s’ Physiotherapist working with under-fives, and is planning to return to work part time in May next year.


Her experience with young children may be the reason why Oliver is such a contented cheery baby!  They go along to Little Angels, the baby and toddler group in the church.

Oliver was baptised in December in All Saints Church and there were refreshments in the church afterwards.