200th post!

Crikey, this seems to have come round quickly – so quickly, in fact, that I hadn’t actually prepared anything for it. However when I was trying to sort out the mis-dating of the family photos recently I stumbled across a little snippet of family-related news which is definitely worth including here – no matter how distant the actual relationship may be.

So, let’s start with an explanation. You’ll have figured out by now that Leonard’s wife, Eva, had a brother named Joe. Joe, married to Lydia, lived in the fascinating house in Shelly Road, Exmouth, which fell a victim to the Council bulldozer in the 1970s.

Family at Tiverton, 1960

This picture, taken by either June or Eva*, shows Lydia in the centre with her grand-daughter Claire on her lap and Joe standing behind her. Joe is flanked by (left) his son-in-law Eric Shapland and (right) Eric’s father Harold Shapland. On either side of Lydia are her daughter Pat (left), and Alec (right), and on the front row are Susan, Kay Shapland, and Carol.

Harold Shapland was a bit of a minor celebrity and actually a good deal younger than he looks in this photo – he didn’t turn sixty until a few months later – and among his other achievements he was a commentator on bowls for both BBC radio and television.

Eric, although apparently not sharing his passion for bowls, certainly followed him in local politics. It was while attempting to verify the identification of the men in this photo as Harold and Eric that I stumbled across Eric’s recent obituary. Our families had lost touch over the years, but clearly Eric was a very popular man in the Tiverton area and his passing will leave a considerable gap.

I wrote a letter on 20 July which I hoped would reach a member of the family eventually, and by coincidence had a message via this page from one of Eric’s daughters a day or two later. I replied by e-mail but haven’t had any further response, although it would be nice to join up another loose end and exchange family news.

*Likely, I think, to be June, who is obviously missing from the photo. This was almost certainly a day trip from Clevedon, and if we left one adult behind everyone else would fit into Leonard’s car; Eva, therefore, despite the visit being to her brother, would no doubt have ‘stayed behind to get the dinner’. The only exception might have been if June was unwell and had opted out, allowing Eva to go instead, but Eva was not exactly a reliable hand with a camera and I honestly don’t think this is her work!


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