Tommy Tippetts a Kirdford Hero

I had the great honor to meet Tommy Tippetts at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations this week, in fact it was one of the highlights of my weekend, he even gave me a thank you note and photograph, for the Tweets etc. that I had posted – I was truly humbled.

This young man set out from La Gomera in January, rowed single handedly, across the Atlantic, which took him  82 days, 8 hours and 40 minutes, landing in Port St Charles, Barbados.

To my mind this achievement is truly epic, not only the physical strength that is needed to row across the Atlantic, but the mental and emotional perseverance to be on your own for four months in a floating box.

It has been confirmed by the Ocean Rowing society, that Tommy’s row did qualify as the youngest male to row any ocean solo, so I asked him what he was going to do next…

“I’m hoping to join the Marines” was his reply – I can’t think of a better calling for such a talented and dedicated young man.

It is superb that we have Tommy as a member of our Village.

If you want to read more about his adventure you can read his Blog.


Mr Hook of Kirdford

A few months ago I posted about a magzine I had found from 1936, with a Mr Hook from Kirdford on the front cover.  I wanted to know more about this man, who he was, where he lived, what family life he had etc.

Nothing came forward so I have had a look at the census records from 1911, and have found what I believe to be the Hook Family.

Kirdford cencus records 1911 for Hook

Judging by the cencus records show above, George Hook, who was 49 in 1911, would have been 74 in 1936, which is about right for the man in the picture.  I would also have to assume that Elizabeth was his wife, with Bea, Elsie, Fred and Minnie as their children.

Fred Hook, being the youngest offspring would be 103 at the time of the blog post, and as I cannot find him on the electoral role I can only assume he has passed on.

There are two remaining Hook’s still living in Kirdford – Harry and Violet, I will have to track them down to see if I can find any more information.

Looking at the death register, there are three Goerge Hooks in the early 40’s, so I can only assume one of them is our George…

Kirdford Hook deaths

The search continues…

Kirdford showman’s stone righted after storm

Kirdford’s most famous resident Andrew Smith has finally got his rightful place back in the village churchyard after his gravestone was blown over by the powerful hurricane of l987.

Thanks to a band of strong villagers and the help of two of his great-grandchildren, the grave stone was turned over at the weekend so that the inscription can once more be read by the many gypsies who still come to pay their respects.

Showman Andrew Smith was not only Kirdford’s most famous resident but well-known throughout the south of England for his support for the ancient Charter Fairs.

When he died in l937, gypsies from all over the country came to pay their respects at his funeral in St John The Baptist Church and a huge grave stone was erected.

But for the last 24 years it has laid face-down, making the inscription impossible to read and the grave difficult to find.

Read the whole story in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer

Who is Mr Hook?

From The Farmers Home Magazine Dec 1936

Last week in one of those inspirational moments, I casually put “Kirdford” in the search on Ebay, about 20 items returned, including various postcard views of the village, two flats and a house on Bourne Meadows for half a million (I did wonder who would buy a house on Ebay, and would they click the ‘buy it now’ and pay by PayPal).

Also in the results was an old magazine from 1936 called The Farmers Home, the front page was a beautiful picture of a Mr Hook, collecting faggots for his winter fires.  I had to have this, duly bid the £3.50 and won it.  So for a fiver, I now have this antique magazine with a man from Kirford on the front cover.

Now the following questions are going through my mind:

  1. Who was Mr Hook?
  2. When was he born?
  3. When did he die?
  4. What did he do in between?
  5. Where did he live?
  6. Does he have any descendants still living in the village?
If you have any of the answers, please either leave a comment below, or e-mail me, I would love to find more about this venerable old gentleman.