Ron White Room is Named

A small ceremony was held at the Keene Hall at the end of July at which Ron White was invited to formally open Committee room Two, re-named in his honour. The chairman of the Trustees, David Stevenson, acknowledged the considerable archive of photos, documents, video and tape recordings that Ron had accumulated and thanked him for all the work he had devoted to building this unique collection. After being invited to open the room in his name, Ron then made his response.

‘Firstly let me thank you all for today’s opening. It is so unexpected and I don’t know what to say about it except to thank you all sincerely. I must tell you about a funny thing when I went into the Post Office to post a parcel. A lady said to me ‘I thought you were dead – there’s a room in the Keene Hall being named after you!’ My interest in collecting all the photos and documents of old Galleywood started at Lathcoats Farm. I had just witnessed the demolition of Number 2 Skinners Lane – the home of the late John Duncan – and it made me realise what old treasures we are losing. Nothing was left of the old Skinners Lane but two red brick cottages. I went on from this scene of destruction to Lathcoat’s Farm and met dear old Maurice Taylor. I was remarking that old Galleywood was fast disappearing and was any one keeping records. His rejoinder was ‘not to my knowledge – what about you making a start.’ And that was the beginning of what has been a long and interesting self-inflicted task. My wife and I have lived here for 50 years come Christmas Day this year. I can recall the peace that pervaded old Galleywood, back just so short a time. Very little traffic noise, lots of bird-song, the smell of apple blossom in spring and the cattle from Bearman’s Farm strolling up the road for milking. The cheery passing of the time of day with all the old timers and the friendly chatter of children when walking the dog. That was the freedom that has been lost over the past 40 years and I don’t see how it can be replaced. Thanks again for today, it will be unforgettable. Finally let me finish by thanking my dear wife for enduring hours and hours of loneliness whilst I was busy in the darkroom reproducing all the old photos for the albums during the dark winter nights.’

Ron then read aloud a poem by Jack Shelley called ‘The Orchard’. He felt this expressed the serenity of the long lost days of a bygone era.

The Parish Council chairman, Ted Hawkins closed by thanking Ron for the work he had put into compiling the archive and the invaluable contribution this had been to the history of Galleywood.