Denton a village in South Norfolk, England

Leonard Talbot 24th March 1934 – 11th December 2009

From the Parish News – February 2010

Throughout the period from the 1920's the Talbot family had a very strong presence in Denton, Charles Talbot and is wife Maud lived in the cottages in Norwich Road which were demolished to make way for the existing ex–council houses in 1946. They had 12 children, but sadly Maud died in 1938 following the birth of her last daughter Evelyn.

These were hard times for agricultural workers, with low wages and without the welfare state and social services we know today to fall back on, Charles found himself a lone parent with twelve children. The consequence was the four youngest boys, Maurice, Ivan, Desmond and Leonard were taken to a children's home in Dereham, the three young daughters Kathy, Betty and Margaret were placed in foster homes, also in the Dereham area, the baby Evelyn was adopted and Charles was left with his oldest sons Charles, Billy, Freddie and Kenny living in the village.

From this point it sounds almost like a Charles Dickens' tale, the boys who went to Dereham lived in some very sparse accommodation with their dormitory a loft over an outhouse looking over stables, very damp and cold, beds so damp they were falsely accused of bed-wetting even though they were locked in at night with no toilet facilities (causing some interesting innovations). Schooling was disciplined with no fear of present day "Nanny State" protection, on one occasion Desmond was made to hold out his hand to receive his punishment from the headmaster, saw his opportunity and bolted out between the desks and through an open window, only to be caught later and given a good beating to make a man of him! Another occasion Maurice borrowed a bicycle and cycled all the way home to Denton, no mean feat during the war when all signposts had been removed.

One of the brighter moments recalled came when Desmond had noticed a severely disabled man carrying his shopping passed the home, he offered to help him carry the bags to his cottage, this became a routine and he was often rewarded when the gentleman's wife gave him a piece of cake, young brother Lenny sometimes accompanied him on these excursions. During this time their father cycled or took the bus to Dereham to visit his family whenever possible. The trauma of their early childhood resulted in a very closely knit family to this day; even Evelyn was traced by the family and found her family roots.

Lenny was only five when he was taken to the children's home but through a mix up over his age he came back to Denton at thirteen years old, so he had to finish his education at Denton school, as the school leaving age had just been changed to fifteen he had two years there. After leaving school he worked for a while with Billy Leist at "Mutts Farm" before doing his National Service in the army. On his return he worked at Low Farm and Darrow Green Farm, but eventually changed his occupation to the building trade and worked until his retirement at Dye's joinery firm in Ditchingham and later at Beccles Heat treatment Factory.

In his youth Lenny played cricket for Denton, and Football with the Hempnall Club, but in later years he shone at his two favourite sports which were Bowls and Darts, and a shelf full of his trophies adorns the sitting room from the Bungay Bowls Club and the Loddon Darts League which remain to prove his prowess. Lenny always retained his dry wit and sense of humour, on one occasion a local farmer's wife frustrated by the pigeons on the kale took her husband's gun and had a shot at them, finding to her amazement she had killed two, Lenny's comment as she proudly showed him her prize, "Huh. They must have died of fright" Unfortunately his latter years were marred with lung problems possibly caused by his smoking habit and his time spent helping out part time at the "Royal Oak" public house, but he was full of appreciation for the care received from the James Paget Hospital.

His funeral service, conducted by the Rev. Barry Cramp was attended by a large congregation of family and friends. We extend our condolences and sympathy to his brothers Ivan and Desmond, and sisters Kathy, Betty, Margaret and Evelyn.

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