GORDON MOXOM 1937-2016
The following eulogy was given at his memorial service on Tuesday 13th December 2016. Firstly, Barbara and Alan have asked me to say thank you to all of you for coming here today to pay your respects and say farewell to Gordon.  In turn, I would like to thank them for the honour of being asked to say these few words about the man we all knew and admired. Gordon was born at Whitethorn Cottage, Litton Cheney, in April 1937.  He had a sister June who pre- deceased him.  He attended Thorners School and then a secondary school in Allington, which no longer exists.  After school he took an apprenticeship at Sharptones Engineering, which has also subsequently disappeared.  Whether Gordon had anything to do with the demise of these two establishments we shall never know – maybe it was just co-incidence! Gordon met Barbara in 1958 on Chesil Beach and they were married in 1962.  Their son Alan was born in 1964. Gordon was a very private man, not one for a night out with the boys playing skittles or darts.  At one time he was a keen bell ringer and he also enjoyed fishing and scuba diving with his friend Mike Stoodley.  However, his two overwhelming passions were his family and his work.  He was immensely proud of his two grand-daughters Natalie and Sophie especially when they both obtained university degrees. Gordon’s father Charlie worked at Whiteheads Torpedo factory at Wyke Regis during the war and also, with Gordon’s mother Joyce, ran a bed and breakfast establishment in Weymouth.  Charlie Moxom established a workshop come garage next to Grove Cottages in the early 1950’s and Gordon joined him in 1958, at the age of 21, following his apprenticeship.  Now, as anyone who knew Gordon would imagine, he was not one to sit back and spend the rest of his life doing simple routine jobs.  So it was in 1962 that A C Moxom Limited, Precision Engineers, was officially registered at Companies House, Gordon and Barbara being the only shareholders. Over the next few years the expanding business outgrew the premises next to Grove Cottages so, in 1971, additional facilities were added on the opposite side of Chalkpit Lane.  A C Moxom Limited continued to provide employment in the village over the next 39 years, until it was closed in March 2010, mainly due to a lack of suitably skilled labour. Talking to ex-employees, it is clear that Gordon was regarded very much as a friend as well as an employer.  As one of them told me “I was sent there by the labour exchange in 1971.  When I got home my wife asked me if the job was OK.  I said it will do until something better comes along.  I stayed there until I retired 34 years later.  He enjoyed the challenge of taking on work that others refused to consider.  We used to think he was mad at times when he came back with what appeared to be some impossible job, but somehow we always seemed to find a solution”. Gordon always had a bee in had bonnet about ‘not being educated’.  It’s true, he may not have had a piece of paper proving he was good at passing exams, but he was an extremely competent self-taught engineer.  In seeking solutions to the ‘impossible’ jobs he took on he became not only a skilled metalworker but also a very able metallurgist.  Another skill he mastered was the art of spray welding stellite alloy onto surfaces to harden them, sometimes solving problems that Deloro Stellite themselves could not.  He once told me that Deloro Stellite offered to keep Moxom Engineering fully employed on this work alone, possibly making him a very rich man.  Of course, this would have been too repetitive and boring for Gordon so he turned them down. During retirement he used his skills building a magnificent quarter scale model of a Burrell steam engine.  The plans he bought to help him proved to be somewhat less than accurate so Gordon had to re-design a lot of parts himself.  In doing so he had to learn all about the mysteries of steam engineering.  He spent a lot of time trying to explain to me the nuances of slide valves, safety valves, boiler pressures etc. etc. but I’m afraid it was wasted on me.  I was extremely proud, however, to be allowed to help him rivet the tracks onto the main drive wheels. I had the privilege of knowing Gordon for over 40 years.  We used to meet at the Manor Hotel in West Bexington on Wednesday evenings when Gordon’s father-in-law, Fred, used to run the bar for Charlie Groves, of Groves Nursery, who owned the Manor at that time.  Fred was a great character who delighted in winding up the holiday makers.  When asked by some blazer adorned individual why there was no mint in his Pimms Fred said “there’s plenty out there in the garden – just help yourself”. Gordon and I had a boat propelled by a small Seagull engine which we kept on Chesil Beach and used for fishing trips.  What the health and safety brigade would make of us these days I dread to think.  No life jackets, an engine which would not go against the tide, no bucket to bail it out and a crate of beer under the seats – I’m sure they would have tried to ban us “for our own good” of course.Like Fred, Gordon also had a dry sense of humour.  Keeping the boat on the pebbles meant that the seams used to open up and allow water to trickle in.  One night he said to me “if we’re going out fishing at the weekend we ought to put the boat in the water to let it plim up”.  Now, you can imagine the puzzlement of the holiday makers wondering why a couple of idiots were sat on the pebbles, holding the mooring rope, watching their boat bobbing up and down whilst drinking bottles of beer.  Eventually it became too much for one of them and he said “something wrong with your boat”?  “No”, Gordon replied”, “it’s what is known in Dorset as a golfing boat – it’s got 18 holes in it”. So, as we say “farewell” to Gordon for one last time, I’m sure many of you share similar happy memories not only of his sense of humour but his kindness, thoughtfulness and undeniable generosity.  I’m sure he would not want us to mourn his passing but to give thanks for his life and work whilst expressing our condolences to Barbara and the family. Goodbye my old friend, you will be sadly missed but never forgotten. Thank you. David Hearn
Fred Wilmington Charlie & Alan
JOHN RANDALL 1925-2017
You   will   all   have   your   own   personal   memories   of   John   Randall.      However   I   would   like   to   remind   you   of   the   man   I   first   met   35   years ago and whom I had the pleasure of meeting many times thereafter. John   was   of   slight   build   and   stood   ramrod   straight.      He   had   the   weather   wom   face   and   the   fiat   tweed   cap   of   a   countryman.      He would   be   wearing   a   collar   and   tie   under   his   well   brushed   tweed   ratcatcher   jacket.      Below   this   he   would   wear   breeches,   leather gaiters   and   boots.      What   struck   one   most   was   the   quizzical   twinkle   in   his   eyes   and   the   amazing   high   polish   on   his   brown   gaiters and   boots.      John   would   be   about   to   get   into   his   white   van   which   was   not   as   well   polished   as   his   boots   and   gaiters.      This   contained all   that   he   needed   for   his   joumey   whether   it   was   to   London,   to   judge   at   a   show,   visit   a   market,   give   advice   or   any   of   the   thousand and one other matters associated with sheep or heavy horses. John   was   generous   with   his   time   and   enjoyed   talking   and   explaining   his   twin   loves   of   heavy   horses   and   sheep   to   anybody, ensuring   that   his   expertise   was   passed   on.      This   was   the   same   approach   he   used   whether   he   was   talking   to   the   Queen,   Prince Philip,   the   Prince   of   Wales,   the   Princess   Royal,   The   Chairman   of   Youngs   Brewery   or   the   Colonel   of   the   Dorset   Yeomanry.      He would   always   talk   to   the   young   be   they   at   the   ring   side   of   a   show,   the   village   fete   or   when   he   ran   his   legendry   lamb   roast   barbeque.     All his friends needed his advice which he so freely gave. He   was   at   peace   with   the   world,   not   afraid   to   express   his   opinion   and   very   willing   to   listen   to   yours   and   then   tell   you   that   you   were wrong.      So   with   the   help   of   Dorothy,   Carol   and   Russell   who   wrote   most   of   what   I   will   read   I   will   try   and   explain   to   you   how   John became the great shepherd he was. John   was   bom   at   Beckington,   a   village   to   the   North   of   Frome,   in   Somerset.      His   father   Richard   was   a   carpenter,   wheelright   and undertaker,   his   mother   Martha   a   cheesemaker.      He   was   educated   at   Beckington   Primary   and   then   at   Frome   Grammar   School where   he   excelled   at   cricket   and   kept   wicket   for   both   the   school   and   village   teams.      He   and   his   elder   brother   Stewart   had   a   true rural upbringing with all that included in those days and John was quite inventive. At   an   early   age   John   showed   a   keen   interest   in   farming,   working   holidays   and   week   ends   for   Russell   Frankes   a   local   dairy   farmer.     He   left   school   at   15   and   moved   to   Salway   Ash   to   be   with   his   Uncle   Bert   and   Aunt   Rose   who   had   Cursey   Farm.      This   was   where John’s passion for sheep started.  A neighbour, Percy Warren, had a flock of Dorset Homs. It   was   here   too   that   John   met   Dorothy   and   romance   blossomed.      John   had   saved   his   pennies   and   had   a   car   but,   so   that   he   could take   Dorothy   out,   he   need   extra   cash   and   this   came   from   rabbiting   at   which,   as   with   so   many   other   things,   he   was   a   dab   hand   with purse   and   long   nets   as   well   as   his   trusty   12   bore   and   not   forgetting   Fido   bred   by   Mr   Coombes   here   in   Litton.      No   rabbit   was   safe.     One   Boxing   Day   he   and   a   mate   went   to   Colmers   Hill   and   after   52   shots   between   them   retumed   with   53   rabbits.      The   dog   caught one. Time   went   by   and   in   1951   John   and   Dorothy   were   married   at   Netherbury   Church   and   the   following   year   David   arrived   followed three years later by Russell At   this   time   John’s   love   of   sheep   expanded   and   his   shepherding   career   took   off.      After   various   jobs   he   went   to   work   for   Charles Borough   at   Manor   Farm,   Halse   near   Bishops   Lydeard   once   again   in   Somerset.      Dorset   Downs   of   course   and   all   went   well   until   the bitter winter of 1963 when he left after a disagreement as to whether the sheep or the cows should have the best food. John   then   retumed   to   Dorset   as   Head   Shepherd   to   Bill   Hooper   at   Winfrith   Newburgh   where   the   sheep   did   take   priority   over   most other things. John   wanted   to   further   his   career   and   took   a   job   managing   a   mixed   farm,   sheep,   beef   and   corn,   in   East   Sussex   but   the   sheep   were Romneys. Then   back   to   Dorset   as   shepherd   for   Rex   Loveless   at   Piddlehinton   and   so   onto   the   Dorset   College   of   Agriculture   at   Kingston Maurward which he described as quite an eye opener more so for the lecturers and students than for John. After   the   DCA   sold   their   sheep   flock   John   temporarily   changed   tack   and   looked   after   a   show   team   of   Shire   Horses,   his   other   great passion,   breeding,   breaking   and   showing   the   horses   and   very   narrowly   missing   out   on   qualifying   for   the   Horse   of   the   Year   Show   at Olympia in London a couple of times. In   1982   John   moved   to   Litton   and   back   to   his   fïrst   love   sheep.      This   time   he   worked   for   himself   contract   sheering,   trimming   and whatever else he was called to do. About   a   year   after   his   move,   whilst   in   deep   conversation   with   Walt   Borough,   he   said   that   it   would   take   5   years   to   start   a   flock   and breed   a   champion.      So   the   gauntlet   was   down,   John   bought   5   ewes,   rented   a   few   acres   and   started   the   Bride   Valley   flock   of pedigree   Dorset   Down   Sheep   and,   during   the   fifth   year,   a   Championship   Prize   was   won.      From   then   on   the   flock   grew   and Champions were bred and very high prices paid when these animais were sold. By   this   time   grandchildren   were   on   the   scene   and   all   were   roped   in   to   help   whether   they   wanted   to or   not.      Stephen,   more   commonly   known   as   Nipper,   was   a   little   different.      He   was   always   ready   to go   especially   when   he   was   big   enough   to   open   gates   and   fetch   and   carry.      Of   course   the   bag   of sweets   in   the   van   always   helped.      John   and   his   mate   would   go   off   to   do   the   sheep   and   retum   when it suited them. One   moming   Carol   told   John   that   Nipper   had   to   properly   exercise   his   dog,   a   black   and   white   Border Collie   of   course,   whilst   they   were   out.      When   they   retumed   Carol   asked   John   if   they   had   exercised the   dog.      Oh   yes   said   John   followed   by   a   big   grin.      It   tumed   out   that   Nipper   sat   in   the   back   of   the van   with   a   piece   of   rope   as   a   lead,   so   with   the   back   doors   open   and   John   driving   the   dog   ran behind.  This tumed into a regular event. John   carried   on   shepherding   for   many   years   and   eventually   gave   up   in   2003   but   he   did   not   lose   his love   and   enthusiasm   for   sheep.      He   did   not   give   in.      He   carried   on   with   the   Dorset   Downs   Sheep Breeders Association,   helping   to   organize   the   annual   breed   show   and   as   a   committee   member   until 2015.  The telephone was his lifeline with people ringing for a chat or advice. Over   the   years   John   achieved   many   things   of   which   he   was   proud.      He   met   most   of   the   Royal Family.      He   was   presented   to   the   Queen.      He   met   the   Duke   of   Edinburgh   and   The   Prince   of   Wales many   times.      He   served   on   the   Royal   Smithfield   Show   Committee   with   the   Princess   Royal   as   President.      He   was   on   very   good ternis with Lady Aldington and acquainted with Lord Whitelaw selling him many a ram. John   had   a   long   association   with   Young’s   Brewery   in   Wandsworth   because,   of   course,   their   mascot   was   a   Dorset   Hom   Ram   called Ramrod   who   had   to   be   trimmed   several   times   a   year   to   keep   him   looking   good.      This   meant   regular   visits   to   the   Brewery   and   these always   ended   in   the   Sample   Room.      At   Christmas   he   would   take   a   ewe   and   lambs   to   the   Brewery   for   their   Christmas   crib   which raised money for the local children’s home.  Again a visit to the Sample Room and a good sélection of beer for the retum joumey. John   also   had   a   fine   relationship   with   the   Dorset   Yeomanry   who   are   now   the   Wessex   Rifles.      Their   mascot   was   also   a   Dorset   Hom Ram which meant visits to Bovington Camp and of course a detour on the way home via the Officer’s Mess. John   served   on   various   judging   panels   and   judged   at   many   of   the   major   and   minor   shows   both   as   a   breed   and   an   interbreed   judge.     Dorset   Down   Sheep   were   his   overriding   passion   and   over   the   years   he   won   countless   prizes,   Many   many   Champions,   Supreme Champions and Interbreed Champions. John   wrote   two   books   and   made   a   video   on   how   to   show   sheep   and   how   to   trim   their   feet.      He   appeared   on   télévision   including   with Chris Evans on Zig and Zag. As   well   as   his   love   of   sheep   in   general,   and   Dorset   Downs   especially,   John   will   be   remembered   for   the   help   and   advice   he   gave   to many   to   help   them   on   their   way   in   the   sheep   world,   and   of   course   his   britches   and   highly   polished   boots   and   leggings   lovingly prepared for him by Dorothy.  Finally John enjoyed an ample dram whenever the occasion arose. Thank you John for enriching all our lives.
  By Robin Barbour
FUNERAL ADDRESS – Monday, 27 th  February 2017
  By David Hearn
FUNERAL ADDRESS – Tuesday, 13 th  December 2016
in the Bride Valley Litton Cheney Dorset
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