Villagers pay respects to popular Arthur

One of the most popular characters in a Suffolk village was laid to rest in the village after locals turned out in force to pay their last respects.

MENDLESHAM: One of the most popular characters in a Suffolk village was laid to rest in the village after locals turned out in force to pay their last respects.

St Mary's, Mendlesham, was packed for a funeral service in tribute to former newspaper roundsman Arthur Battley, 71, who died earlier this month.

Father-of-four Arthur, was well-known in the villages around Mendlesham and Stowmarket, and was “a friend to many” said Father Philip Gray, vicar of Mendlesham, who conducted the service.

Arthur, who delivered The Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times to rural communities for many years, is survived by his wife Sheila and grown-up children Richard, David, Fiona and Laura.


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Fr Gray told the congregation that Arthur, the eighth of ten children, was a proud member of the British Army, which he left in 1958 after seeing service in many parts of the world, including Germany.

He later worked for many years at H G Thurston, in Old Newton. He married his beloved Sheila, who works at Ipswich Hospital, in 1973.

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He was a passionate footballer - and played for Mendlesham “scoring two goals each season - one for his team and one for the opposition!”

In 1989 he took on a newspaper vending round in the Mendlesham area - and enjoyed linking the communities with news from the pages of the EADT and Evening Star.

The congregation was told Arthur was often described as a “cat with nine lives”. When he was youngster in the 40s, he was knocked down by a car in Mendlesham, the only vehicle to pass through the village that week!

He loved to help out with autumn harvesting in the fields but two excursions driving a combine harvester ended up with one vehicle on its side in a ditch and the second on fire.

When he was on his newspaper run he had a serious accident on the A140, making news in the Star after a collision in which he broke his neck. It took him many months to recover - but later, doggedly, he returned to work. In retirement he loved his garden and the wildlife around his Mendlesham home.

Did you know Arthur? Do you want to pay a tribute to him? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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