News from Water Stratford

BILL BOOTH - Bill was born on the 3rdMarch, 1926 in Caversfield, Bicester. His mother was a cook and his father a chauffeur to Colonel and Lady Wyndham. He had an older sister Olive, who sadly died at the age of 34. He grew up on the Caversfield estate and moved briefly to Yorkshire with the Wyndham family at the start of World War 2, before moving back to Caversfield. He left school at 14 years old and did an apprenticeship as a mechanic. He then started his own business in a stable servicing MOD vehicles and cars. He went on to own 2 garages in Bicester and various other successful companies.

He enjoyed all outdoor sports and was a British Go Kart Champion in his younger days. He played golf and was the President of Buckingham Golf Club for several years. He enjoyed shooting, fishing and latterly horse racing and went on to have 47 National Hunt winners. He moved with his family from Bicester to Water Stratford in 1970 and over the last few years could regularly be found pottering in his vegetable garden where he grew enough tomatoes, potatoes, green beans and other vegetables to feed the whole village.

On the 18th July at the age of 94, he sadly passed away and will be very much missed by his wife Yvonne, children Rosemary and Stephen and grandchildren George, Tom, Hannah and Sebastian.

Rosemary Fehler


STEPHEN PRICE   31/5/1949 – 2/8/2020 - Water Stratford lost a popular former resident recently when Stephen Price died after an eight year battle with prostate cancer.

Stephen and Sue Price bought a plot of land in Water Stratford in 1990 and subsequently built the lovely house known as ‘The Willows’. Having completed the build in about a year they moved to the village with their children, Simon, Sarah and Sophie, in May 1992. The Prices quickly became active in village life, supporting the church, becoming involved with fundraising and generally helping to organise and take part in social activities. The success of the Summer Ball, held in 2007 in aid of St Giles, was partly due to sponsorship and prizes procured by Stephen.

In the early years Stephen was working as a Sales and Marketing Director of Dairy Crest. He was involved with the food manufacturing industry throughout his career and later worked for Whitworths, Glenlivet Mineral Water, and latterly, Newby Teas. The Prices were very generous with their hospitality; close friends in the village will remember attending the weddings of all three of their children. Perhaps the climax came when a group of us were treated to full hospitality at The Henley Festival.

Although Stephen and Sue moved to Silverstone in 2014, they came back to Water Stratford often for various social events, and Sue has remained on the church flower rota throughout.  Stephen loved skiing, and the Price family, with a few friends, would typically spend a week in the French Alps most years. He loved music, a subject on which he was knowledgeable, and enjoyed many sports, chief among them racing and football. As a Leeds United supporter it was very fitting that, after sixteen years, Leeds gained their place back in the Premier League a few days before he died.

A testament to Stephen’s work ethic is the fact that he was still active with Newby Teas in the weeks before he died, successfully completing a sales contract with the Co-op. Stephen’s funeral took place on 13th August at St Giles; he is buried in the churchyard next to his father, Ernie Price. He will be sadly missed.

WJC Hilsdon

REST IN PEACE - The second week of August was a sad one for the village: very unusually, two funerals and burials took place at St Giles within three days, the closest interval possible under pandemic restrictions, which also meant they had to be private occasions. On 10th August it was moving to see villagers line the street to pay their respects to a long-standing, respected and well-liked resident, Bill Booth, as his funeral procession made its way to church. The following Thursday saw the funeral of Stephen Price, a former resident remembered for his friendly good humour, and still part of Water Stratford's extended family.  In the current absence of a Rector, retired clergy conducted the services. Revd Maurice Stanton-Saringer, who ministered here some years ago and remembered Bill's son from his time at Stowe, took the first, and Canon Max Wigley, like Stephen a Yorkshireman, and who as a child sang in the choir of the church where Stephen was later married, the second.  We are left with good memories, and with two fine extra houses in the village. We offer our sympathy to Yvonne, to Sue and to their families.

EMERGING FROM LOCKDOWN - Thanks to Guy and his working party for achieving a major clearance in the churchyard - it had begun to resemble a scene from 'The Sleeping Beauty' with everything overgrown. Special thanks to Howard, who returned to carry out further work in preparation for our two burials. The churchyard now looks pleasantly tidy again. Thanks also to Sarah and Lisa and to Di, who tackled the task of cleaning the interior of the church after many months of lack of use, carefully following Covid-19 regulations as they did so. Spectacular cobwebs were removed and the building made welcoming for the funeral services. Thanks to Mike for keeping abreast of constantly changing and lengthy rules from the government and Church of England, at the same time as dealing with the interminable processes of appointing a new Rector. And thanks to everyone who continues to look out for their neighbours as lockdown eases but the virus remains.

CHURCH SERVICES - These are now allowed again, but with considerable restrictions.  Church authorities are advising a slow and cautious approach to restarting service schedules.  The PCC hopes to have services in church again soon: please watch the noticeboard for announcements.

THE OLD PUMPING STATION - It's not often that Water Stratford appears on national television, but the BBC's 'Homes under the Hammer' on 17th June visited the former water booster station at the end of our village of “lots of charming little homes off the main the fresh country air of North Bucks.” Until the mid 20th Century this was used by the Water Board to house pumps that boosted the water supply to and away from houses in this and surrounding villages, then too far away from a main supply centre. It was fascinating to see all the heavy cast iron pumps and pipes inside, and the many dials, buttons and switches, some of which the buyers plan to use as features in their new home. With courage and optimism they bought the property without planning permission and oversaw the removal of the industrial equipment before extending the building outward and upward to create a family home.  “You can't beat the location,” announced the programme – we would agree.  We wish the new owners happiness here.

Sara Edwards