Bill Denn: 1939 to 2014

12th March 2014: A packed St Laurence Church said "good-bye" to Bill in a service lead by Rev Lyn Sapwell. Trish Wagstaff spoke of her "Memories of Billy" and music from the Shadows "Nights in White Satin" and Elvis Presley's "If I can Dream" reminded family and friends of Bill. It was splendid that so many of his contemporaries came to Appleton for the funeral some of whom had not been seen in Appleton for many years. Our thoughts are extended to his family.


Order of Service: see Order of Service Bill Denn

Some memories of Billy

by Trish Wagstaff


I’ve known Billy since 1976 – he was working then at the local sewage plant but occasionally was at home when his mother Flossie and I returned with shopping from one supermarket or another.


To me he seemed quiet laid back and a quite private man – I never saw him angry or upset – always steady – but perhaps his pals in the pub saw a different side of him! He had a dry sense of humour and one year he’d lopped the top of a thick tree near his home and I commented that it looked like a bad “hair do” – the following week the said tree had a very fetching bob!


After the Denn’s dog died I think they felt a bit incomplete and, as I knew that one of my patients in Sobell House who had a very little time left was really worried as to what would happen to her beloved dog Lady, I took Floss over to meet Lady and we arrived back at The Fold compete with a new-found pet and that dog had a wonderful home for the rest of her life and was thoroughly pampered as she and Billy had daily walks down to the river and he would regale me about the wild life they’d seen and chased – the dog, not Billy, that is!


The only time I saw Bill in a different light was when he had a look of terror on his face as I, and a few more of the WI ladies, decided to play darts in the Plough. He and his pals were sitting clasping their pints just by the dart board and, with the odd exception, our aims were not always that good, with a few darts ending up in the woodwork alongside their ears or on the floor by their feet! Billy kindly dug out the darts and helped score for us!


He was incredibly generous with his garden veg and wonderfully kept me supplied with my favourite runner beans for the whole season – also lettuces. We’d have earnest talks about whether he should hang out his washing and what was the best way to cook pork chops and chicken fillets etc. He had such a regular diet that although he rang through his “shopping list”, I could have almost done his shop without his call!


Bill obviously had great affection for his family as he often spoke of his brother, John and how his nieces were growing up – I’m glad I’ve met them now after all this time – although sad that it has to be under these circumstances.


He, as we all know, was firmly anchored to the village – very much a countryman at heart and it would have needed a bulldozer to budge him from the Fold or I’m sure from his meetings with his pals in the Plough – I understand he was known as “Elvis”!


He will be much missed by us all who knew the different facets of Billy – a little bird told me that he has beans in his pocket so surely he is now preparing a heavenly patch to plant those beans along with his potatoes and lettuce.


God keep you, Bill.