Sad Month for Rye

By Jim Hollands

This job of Editor of “Rye’s Own” has many great moments. I am able to share in the good times enjoyed by Rye and Rye people, support the town when outside forces threaten to change our way of life and enjoy victories and achievements of Ryers young and old. But there are bad times when I have to report the loss of friends and contemporaries, and this is a very sad time.

Trevor Ashbee

Trevor Ashbee, former Macebearer of Rye and a good friend of mine who played football for Iden and worked on Rye Borough Council as a gardener, died suddenly on 15 September.

Rye's Youngest Mace Bearer Trevor Ashbee
Rye’s Youngest Mace Bearer Trevor Ashbee

Trevor left Rye for Canada in the early 1970’s. He made a new life there, using the experience and horticultural knowledge he had learned in Rye to carve out a new and very successful career in Ontario. When Trevor’s brother Chris phone me with the news I was dumbfounded. I was talking to Trevor for more than a hour on the telephone just a couple of months ago.

Trevor was a real Rye character, there are pictures of him skiing at Playden in an early Rye’s Own – who else has ever done that locally? He was a favourite with the ladies, young and old, always had a cheeky smile and nice words for everyone he met in his job as gardener looking after Rye Gungarden and other flower beds around the town. He was a true sportsman, average in ability but what he lacked in skill he made up for with enthusiasm. Those that knew him in those far off times will all agree a lot of fun went with him when he left for foreign shores and little bit of Rye has died with him all these years later.

Keith Pope

News of Trevor’s passing came just a few weeks after another great friend of mine Keith Pope succumbed to cancer after a short illness.

Keith Pope
Keith Pope

Keith was a member of Rye Wheelers in the 1950’s & 60’s. He made up a team of three with myself and Bernard Dean in a Twelve Hour Event in 1957. Bernard died of the same dreadful disease 15 years ago so now I am the only one of the three left.

Keith was a tiny chap with a big heart. Full of fun and mischief. He fell 60 feet from the top of Camber Castle when he was a boy, and despite Stuart, his younger brother, running home to announce that he had fallen off the Castle and was dead, he had only broken his legs and lived to tell the tale.

Now alas, he has gone, but those that knew him are all richer for the experience of being his friend.

Ted Wiggins

On top of all this came a letter from Eileen Wiggins telling of the death of husband Ted, just a few months after their Diamond Anniversary. “Dear Jim

Back in January Jacqui Tarrant wrote to the magazine telling of our 60th. Wedding Anniversary here in Dover.

Ted and I, then Eileen Bourne, were married in St. Mary’s Rye on Boxing Day 1951. It is with regret I now have to tell you that Ted passed away on July 17th. following a stroke. He was 85.

We moved to Dover in 1964 but still have family and friends in Rye who kindly attended Ted’s Funeral in St.Mary’s Dover on July 24th.

I have enclosed a photo of Ted with your ‘Super Town Crier’ Rex Swain taken 4 years ago. Ted and Rex were friends as teenagers. Ted was a Hostel Boy and Rex a member of the Rye Aces. Ted came to Rye in 1948 as a War Agricultural worker. He loved the town and stayed on, we met and he married me. We made our home in Lea Avenue on Tilling Green.

Old Friends - Ted Wiggins and Rex Swain
Old Friends – Ted Wiggins and Rex Swain

When you were a young man Jim, you used to come to ‘sort out’ our TV with your lovely Dad. You would open the window and call out to your Dad “It’s the lady with the Whimsies”. I had quite a few, having been given them as presents. They were all displayed on top of a square, very bulky, small screen TV. Happy days, I’m sure you remember them fondly.

Ted was an avid angler while in Rye and won many trophies and cups. Rye Angling Club was very popular. He also played Darts for the Pipemaker’s Arms.

Yours Sincerely

Eileen B Wiggins.

From the October 2012 issue of “Rye’s Own”

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