collected by Irene Bell 2003


   Eva Dodds was born in Ompton, the daughter of a farmer but her ambition was to be a nurse. In 1942 when she was 16, two years too young to start her training, She moved to Newark to attend Newark College to study Hygiene, The nurses then trained at The Friary. She was befriended by Rene Daybell, who was teaching English at the college and teaching soldiers among other pupils.

   Rene had two small children Charles who was 1 1/2 and Sara who was 3 and she needed someone to look after them whilst she was at work, and persuaded Eva to move to the farm and become their nanny. Eva never went back to nursing. Rene subsequently had another son Edward who dies of leukaemia when he was 2 years old, and some years later, an afterthought baby, Hugh.

   Rene was married to Ted Daybell, who with his brothers Frank and George ran Hill Farm; their sister was Mary Daybell. George Daybell never married but was a real ladies man, a character who loved driving round in his big Rover car. Mary later married Harold Hanbury and they had two children, Christine (who married a vicar) and Tony.

   Eva married Tony Handbury when she was 18 and they had five children. Susan, Martin, and Jane and then twins Rosemary and David born on General Election Day in 1959. They lived in a cottage at the top of the hill in Balderton Lane in the pair that now stand back by Page's Wood. The Handbury farm was called Vale Farm but when they saw the deeds they discovered that it had originally been called Rosevale Farm, so they reverted to that name. The Daybell's raised pedigree Friesian cows and wanted to call the herd "The Rosevale Herd", but that name was already in use by someone else, so they called the herd "The Daybury Herd" from the two names, Daybell and Handbury.

   Eva never really took to farming and although she helped out where needed potato picking etc she generally volunteered to go home and cook enormous dinners for the workers.

   Although Coddington was a small village, there seemed to be a great many activities going on and lots of fun to be had. There was a youth club in the small village hall the kitchen in the present hall as well as the men's snooker. They had whist drives with supper every two weeks and huge harvest suppers, usually steak and kidney pies and apple pies cooked by Mary Handbury in her Aga, Eva's mother in law. This supper was to raise funds for the church. Mary was President and then Secretary of the Coddington W.I. for very many years.

   After the old hall was handed over to the RAF in the war, they had many plays and dances there. Eva baby sat for the airmen and the officers whose quarters were then in what is now Parklands. When it was decided to enlarge the village hall and build an extension, the whole village rallied round to raise funds, holding bingo, whist drives, rummage sales and coffee mornings.

   The Daybell's owned large amounts of land around the village including the land the school is now on and the big house at highest point on Balderton Lane, HILL TOP. The house was sold to a Patricia Hynes who moved to Lombard Street Newark, sister in law to the doctor there.Alaric Hynes was her first husband, a funny little man who to went to bed wearing a little pixie hood.If anyone came to his door first thing in the morning he opened the door still wearing his hood.After he died Patricia married again and became Lady Osborne. The house eventually became the Julian George Healing Centre run by Paul Crowder, alternative medicine, holistic and herbal.

   The village was then made up of many small cottages and life was a more simpler if hardworking one. The main village shop, next door to the Plough Pub, was owned by John Knott. John delivered groceries all round the village. Porters, the shop in Newark Market Place was owned by a Daybell cousin and was then a butchers shop, and they also delivered meat into the village. The Co-op and Barkers grocers also delivered; vegetables of course were grown on the farms. A trip into Newark to buy anything now available clothes and shoes for the children, was quite an event.

   Malcolm Taylor was the borough surveyor whose responsibility it was to have jost of the small cottages condemned and torn down. Mary Lukehurst who is 91 and still lives in the village and was a Hough, was moved into her bungalow Ardbrecknish on Balderton Lane when her parents died. The land that the Briggs Price bungalow now stands on was Hough's Yard and the people who lived in the cottages there were moved into the council houses, which still stand in Balderton Lane.

   Where the "White Houses" at the top of Newark Road are now, there was a farm owned by Mr. H. Davis, which was locally known as the Catch em Inn Corner Farm. It was subject to a compulsory purchase order when the AI was built. The new school land was also subject to compulsory purchase.

   Tony Handbury was the boss of Vale Farm and ran it mostly with a second cousin and other farm workers. While harvesting sugar beet he banged his head very badly on some machinery, badly enough to send him home immediately. He shrugged it off, farming was a tough life and he did not want to fuss. However, he never full recovered and his health began gradually to deteriorate. They sent for the doctor who stood casually at the bottom of the bed and declared it was a virus. It was mastitis, which burst into his brain and he died of meningitis shortly afterwards. Eva was only 40 and shock brought on severe arthritis and was hospitalised. Neighbours rallied round and looked after the children and housework until she recovered.

   She moved from the farm cottage into Brownlow House. At this time David Hanbury was attending Brackenhurst College, and wanted to follow his father into farming. When he was 18, days after finishing college driving his new motorbike, he was killed in a crash.

   The younger generation growing up had not the same interest in farming, and jost of the land belonging to both Daybells and Handburys was sold. Jim Daybell, the son of Frank now lives in Scotland. Martin Handbury, elder son of Eva is still farming.

   A new bungalow, named "Dell View", was built for Eva in Balderton Lane and she moved into it on her 60th birthday in 1991.

Very sadly Eva died on the 8th February 2010