Denton a village in South Norfolk, England

Ethel Amy Hanner 1908 – 1998

From the Parish News – October 1998

25th August 1908 - 28th August 1998

Denton lost one of its most-loved personalities who could well be called the 'matriarch' of the village with the death of Ethel Hanner only four days after her ninetieth birthday.

Although she was born in Shimpling to Arthur and Amy Seaman, her grandparents, Ezra and Elizabeth Potter, lived at Pockthorpe Cottage, Denton. During the First World War when Arthur was serving in the army the family moved to Leiston, and in 1920, with a family of six children, they came to live in a house on Trunch Hill, Denton, before the present council houses were built. Ethel left school at 12 and helped her mother, who was at work, care for the large family until, when she was 16, she started work at Bungay Printing Works. She met her future husband Bovi at the age of 19, and they were married in Denton Chapel in 1934; the reception was held at the Village Hall. They lived for a short while at Shelton, where Bovi worked for Mr C Jackson, and when he moved, they accompanied him to Burgh Castle. Then in 1938 he bought Fir Tree Farm in Denton and Ethel and Bovi occupied the new council house at 4 Norwich Road. Ethel continued to live there up to March last year, when she was incapacitated by her illness and moved to Adele House at Bungay.

In 1939, Bovi worked with Albert Skinner at Glebe Farm and continued there for the rest of his life. Both he and Ethel took part in village activities, Bovi being a member of the cricket team and becoming quite a star of the Denton Concert Party. Ethel was a member of the WI and regularly made teas for the cricket team; she was caretaker at the Village Hall for twelve years, and a regular member of the URC Chapel. In spite of having a husband and six children to look after, she took in washing from American servicemen during World War II, and the copper was literally on the boil from dawn till dusk. In addition, she would help Ted Buckham with his poultry business at Upland Farm, 'stubbing' hens behind the mechanical plucker - for this onerous task her pay was 3d per bird (1.25p in the new currency!). She was always available to help any neighbours in need.

Bovi died in 1963 at the early age of 52 (one of several men in Denton to be taken at any early age around that time). The family rallied round their mother, and on Sundays one would invariably find a collection of the family cars gathered round her home in Norwich Road. She actually had one holiday in her life, when she went to Devon with Vivienne and Jennifer and their families.

Her life was a fine example to all who knew her; especially her six children and their families (eighteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren) of whom she was justly proud. She is buried at St Mary's Church, where a large congregation attended the service, officiated by the Revd Sam Read and the Revd Helen Mills. We extend our love and sympathy to all the family.

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