January 23, 2019|

Molly Grace Haydock

Molly Grace Haydock

24th July 1928 – 21st June 2016

Local girl Molly (nee Cheater) Haydock was born in Swanmore. She went to school in Curdridge and Hedge End.

During the war the classrooms were shared by the evacuated town children escaping from the dock yard bombs: locals went in the morning and the evacuees in the afternoon. One day they were showered with bullets from a German plane on its way home.

Her parents declined her offer of a grammar school place and she left school at 14/15. Wanting an outdoor life, she found herself a job at Parrett’s dairy. She was not only responsible for delivering the milk but also for the cart horses, Dolly and Polly. She found it a very friendly and sociable job being around the village every day.

The widowed Mrs Birchall persuaded her to go and work in the chemist shop and they later employed a newly demobbed pharmacist from Manchester, Norman Haydock. Norman also loved the friendly village life and after meeting Molly decided to stay and make Wickham his home.

They built their home at the bottom of the Park Place estate, many years before the townhouses were built or the road was widened. It was here that Molly raised her two girls and supported her husband in both his work and the many committees and clubs he belonged to. She too was very active in village life.

Molly was Secretary for the Victory Hall badminton club and the WI where she enjoyed all the cooking and flower arranging competitions. She was part of the Mothers Union and later the Thursday Club. She played tennis and enjoyed the many keep-fit and dancing classes with her friends.

Molly came from a very musical family and one of here great pleasures was singing in the church choir. She was the Wardrobe Mistress and made all the cassocks for each individual child and adult. She used her cooking and musical talents to organise and support many a church fundraising scheme. Cream teas at the vicarage (now the ‘Old Rectory’), Church Fête cake stall, Harvest Festival banquets with entertainment usually involving some kind of dressing-up, as well as musical evenings in choir members houses.

Long before takeaway meals and disposable foil trays she ran the WRVS meals on wheels service. The locks (as the boxes were called) had a tray which Molly filled with hot coals from her Aga. After every delivery she hand washed each dinner and pudding tin and sterilised them in the Aga. She organised the rotas for meals on wheels and the care group, often having to fill in at a moment’s notice to drive or deliver meals.

I think most people would agree that Wickham’s charm is not just in it’s bricks and mortar but in the width and breadth of its clubs and organisations. The legacy of the women like Molly Haydock working within these organisations not only keeping them going but welcoming newcomers into their midst, handing down a thriving community for the next generation to enjoy.

Christina Haydock

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