On Friday 20 October, two Australians came to visit the Parish. Grant and Anita Wolf came to see the house where Grant’s grandmother was born and grew up and got in touch with us via our Facebook page.
Jean Akers was born in The Orchard, Gallowstree Common in 1917 and after marrying Sydney Rodgers in 1939 they emigrated to Australia. Grant remembers the many tall tales his grandmother told about the house, and he was fascinated to actually see it and the surrounding villages which his grandmother had known throughout her childhood. Grant brought with him the old family photo album, and when we compared the old pictures to the house as it now stands in 2017, there were hardly any changes, with the exception of a name change to Orchard Manor!
The Akers family have a long history with Kidmore End Parish. Jean’s grandmother, Lilian, was a school mistress working at Kidmore End School, and Jean’s uncle, Frederick Akers, died in 1918 whilst volunteering as a stretcher bearer in Northern France. He is commemorated on our war memorial in St Johns churchyard. On his return to Australia Grant left the photo album and the Death Penny given to Frederick’s parents, Frederick and Lilian, with me. There are plans to use these materials in an exhibition commemorating the end of WW1 in Henley next year.