At the end of January Bernards Heath lost Peter Butcher, almost certainly its oldest resident. Ninety two years old, he had lived all his life in Upper Culver Road, bar military service at the end of WW II. At one time Butchers were to be found at several addresses in the streets to the east of the Heath. Their occupational speciality was well-sinking. After leaving the army Peter briefly tried the family business, then shoe-making, the Ariston suet factory on the Heath, finally settling for aircraft at de Havillands, Hatfield, for the rest of his working life.
Peter outlived both his wife and two daughters. He made bequests to charities in his will so his executor and friends who arranged the funeral have very generously donated the collections to Friends of Bernards Heath and we have benefitted to the extent of £455. A substantial addition to our funds and the Committee will do its best to employ it on something to which Peter’s name can be attached and remembered. We always have a ‘to do’ list, but any further suggestions will be welcome.
A bright note to end sad news; an interview with Peter had been recorded as part of an FOBH project to make a collection of oral histories of Heath residents. This would be an appropriate place to ask that anyone with first or second hand knowledge of the Heath’s past, recent and not so recent, make themselves known. The intention, if possible, is to produce a publication of local people’s memories, but as a first step extracts can appear on our website.
On a personal note, to my regret I got to know Peter only in recent years, despite living close to him for many. However, once I had struck up an acquaintance with him, conversations were long, interesting and well-punctuated with laughter. He was busy and active right to the end. Not to be forgotten.
Roger Miles, Committee Member
Update 28 January 2018
Roger reports that the Friends of Bernards Heath funds have benefited substantially from Peter Butcher’s estate. The total is now over £1,000.