Phillip Hammond - Oral history taken by Irene Bell 17th April 2007

Phillip Hammond was born in Danethorpe in 1930 and moved to Coddington in 1960 after he left the Army. He married Lilian, who was born in Carlton on Trent in 1952 in Newark Parish Church.

He met Lilian when he was working for George Stevenson's (which later became Gaskells) and she was working for Webb-s Woolies. Their courting was done in one of the three cinemas there was at the time, usually the Savoy, or the Kinema in Balderton, known as the fleapit. They had three sons, Phillip born in 1952, Peter born in 1954 and Robert in 1960. Robert was for many years the Coddington local policeman, and has recently retired.

The Hammonds were amongst the very first families to move into the newly built Morgans Close, surrounded by open fields that later became Thorpe Close, Parkes Close Estate.

The neighbours that Phil remembers clearly were, starting from the bungalow at the top of the road. Mr Lee, Mrs Slack (mother of Nancy Slieght), two sisters, The Misses Checkley, Nellie Robb, Mr & Mrs Robinson, The Lamberts, Mr Eaves and his son, Mr & Mrs Curtis. Mrs Curtis became warden at Well Green. Mr & Mrs Checkley, Mr & Mrs Robinson and Mrs Butler.
Phil wanted to become very much involved with village life and joined the Parish Council in 1964. They met in the Kitchen of the Village Hall. Mr Ted Daybell was the Chairman and Mr Bernard Wilby was Parish Clerk. He later became Chairman and Mrs Hornsby was then the Parish Clerk, followed by Mrs Goodwin and finally Mrs Pamela Hemphill.

He then became a member of the United Charities; the clerk was Mr Geeson, then Sara Daybell and finally Alisdair Morrison.

Phil also became a School Governor, then known as a School Manager; the Headmaster was Mr Gaskin Miller. The School was much smaller then, before the extensions were built. Along with the Vicar he approved the appointment of the next Head, David Halford in 1997.

He also served on the church Parochial council; there were two churchwardens, the vicars warden and Mr Arthur Richardson, the peoples warden and was part of the Deanery Synod. The vicar was the Reverend Peter Wright who at the time could not drive so he asked Phil to give him driving lessons. This he did and Peter Wright passed his test first time.

Phil served on the Boy Scout Committee, which at that time met in the Village Hall, before moving to the Old School. Trevor Town was Scout Master and Reg Dickinson was assistant master. Mr Checkley and Rene Elliott were also on the committee.

Although much of the old cottages had been demolished and the village had changed to a large extent, some of the old properties were still in place, one of them being The Red Lion pub. The Landlord was Mr Sam Simpson. He had two sons who served on the Parish Council, and one son Graham Simpson still lives in Morgans Close.

Phil was an agricultural fitter for many years, but heard of a vacancy at the Grove School as a workshop technician. He was given a reference by Peter Wright and Howard Selby, and worked at the school for 31 yrs before he retired. He served as a Parent Governor at the Grove and was a local education authority representative.

From 1972 to 1974 he served on the then Newark Rural District Council. Later three boroughs amalgamated to become Newark and Sherwood District Council.

He was a trustee on the Management Committee of the Village Hall, and together with Mr Peter Blatherwick who lived on the corner house of Balderton Lane, disbanded the trustees and set up a new constitution, which was sealed and banded in 1977.

There does not appear that Mr Hammond would have much free time left for social activities and leisure time seemed to be largely fundraising activities. However Dick Grey ran sequence dancing every Saturday in the village hall, which the Hammonds attended. Also in the village hall they held whist drives.

Every summer a garden party would be held in the Grounds of Miss Pamela Branston's home on Old Newark Road, for fund raising for the Scouts and also during that time garden Parties would be held in Coddington House owned by the Mumby's.

Coffee mornings and bingo was held in the village hall to raise church funds.

Phil played a large part in the 1977 Queens Jubilee amongst other activities; there was a hog roast and a dance. The hog roast was cooked on Main Street where the big gate opens into Coddington House, opposite the village hall, and the dancing in the street. Fortunately the weather was good.

Phil was originally involved with the Over 55's Leisure Group, introducing to the village the delights of indoor bowls.

In 1997 Phil felt he had given so many years of his life to the benefit of the community and overnight gave up virtually all of his committee involvement and took some very well deserved time off. Able at last to pursue his own leisure.

His input and involvement in village life is invaluable, and we should all be much poorer without Phillip Hammond, and people like him, who give their unstinting time for the benefit of others.