- Mr Len Short, one of the first pupils at the White House School
There can be few residents of Chapel St Leonards who are not familiar with the gentleman in our picture. Mr Len Short was born at Thurlby, his father Fred Short was born at Thurlby; his father Fred Short at Trunch Lane, and was one of the first pupils to attend school at the tiny building which stands in the grounds of the White House, Sea Road. When the next school was built, Fred Short was again one of the early pupils to attend at that school near to the church.
On their marriage, Len’s parents lived at Thurlby for a while until his father became gamekeeper to Mr George Brown at Stainsby, near Horncastle. The family, which later grew to include Len’s four brothers, William, Walter, Gordon and John, and two sisters Doris and Phyllis, remained at Stainsby for almost 20 years.
They moved to Chapel St Leonards in 1930 and lived in the first of three bungalows on Sunningdale Close which were then newly built. Len recalls that the gardens to these bungalows were in a shocking state and the owner, Mr Hardy of Chesterfield asked Len and his family to bring order out of chaos! Obviously, this is where Ken’s fondness of gardening originates.
The family remained there for only six months. Said Len: “My mother said there was too much sand getting in and she couldn’t keep the place clean.” So, moving again, they took up residence at Church Cottage which was at that time a single
storey dwelling. Len says he cannot remember the family feeling over crowded in spite of the number of children and the size of the cottage.
They spent 16 years at Church Cottage and it was during this time that Len became interested and involved in Church work. He was asked by the Reverend Watson of St Leonards to act as Sexton, which was a very responsible position he held for almost twenty years, giving up only in order to care for his mother. All but one of his brothers and sisters had married and left home by this time.
In 1947 Len, William and their mother moved to the present home on Skegness Road, Chapel St Leonards. William died in 1964 and Len’s mother in 1973.
At 77 years of age, having lived here for 56 years, Len is still an active member of the church where he is a sidesman and has, in his words “clocked up more than 40 years,” in the service of the church, all of those years at St Leonards.
Len is at present chairman of the Chapel St Leonards branch of the senior citizens, although he is retiring from that office in February.
Source: Skegness News 29th January 1986
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