James (Jim) Duffy passed away at the Conquest Hospital on November
30. He was a well known character in the town, cycling around in his
familiar hat going to and from his numerous gardening jobs.
He was a very happy man who had a smile for everyone, he was always
pleased to see a face he knew so that he could pause for a chat.
Jim was a staunch Catholic and very popular at St. Anthony of Padua
Church in Watchbell Street. where he often took the collection plate
around. He welcomed everyone to the church and was generally helpful
to friends and strangers alike.
James Duffy was born in Northern Ireland into a farming family of
seven brothers (one whom died as an infant). His education was at
Co. Derry School which was a couple of miles walk from his home. He
left school at fifteen and went straight to work, there was little
Further Education in those days.
The troubles in Northern Island and low pay at that time led to Jim
and several of his brothers seeking work on the mainland, first in
Scotland, where they worked on the Hydro-Electric Dam project. Accommodation
was in wooden huts.
Jim decided that he would try his luck ‘down south’ and eventually
ended up in Rye where he met his future wife, Kathleen Head. They
were married at St. Anthony’s in 1958 and made their home first at
Winchelsea Beach and later, when they had started a family, in Rye.
James Duffy was a committed family man, he worked hard to provide
for his growing family. If there were no jobs to be found locally
he travelled far and wide, working on building sites, including the
Ashford Centre and at airports. He even worked in Poland for a few
He will be remembered by many who worked at Farnborough Engineering
in Winchelsea Road. He spent several years of his working life there.
At the weekends he was employed by Rye Bay Caravan Park
When Farnborough was wound up he found employment cutting the reeds
and undergrowth of the local rivers.
In his retirement years he took to gardening in a big way and was
sought after by many who heard of his skills.
He was a regular face at Rye Auction Galleries where he would bid
for ‘job lots’ of gardening tools which he would enjoy renovating.
Jim’s expertise with motor mowers was uncanny, he could restore even
the roughest old machines, giving them a few years more life.
James Duffy leaves a family of Two Boys, Four Girls and Nine Grandchildren.
He will be missed by all of them and by many outside his family circle
to whom he had shown many kindnesses.
He will be sadly missed around the town of Rye. He was returned to
his beloved Northern Ireland where he now lies at rest.
Rye’s Own January 2005
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