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Page updated - 27 June 2007


Fred Bloys


Fred Bloys was born into a Cornard family when the village really was a village and everyone was familiar with the people that lived around them. Fred's family has long connections in the area. His great grandfather opened a mineral water business in Friars Street in Sudbury - the bottles from that business turn up very occasionally when the river is being dredged, and another relative was a lock keeper on the river Stour.


Fred grew up in a house in Bures Road on the corner of Radiator Road - his father bought the land and had the house built. He remembers a happy secure childhood wandering the lanes and byways in Cornard. There were many little shops in the vicinity including a ‘cobblers’ in one of the cottages on Bures Road that face Head Lane. It probably did very well as people walked everywhere.


Fred would collect the milk for the family on his bike from Layzell Farm on Bures Road. He recalls on one trip, during the war, seeing a German plane flying low overhead with a German gunner, complete with a machine gun, clearly visible. However, luckily, the gunner did not consider Fred a threat. The nearest bomb to drop in Cornard was at the Water Tower and although it left a deep crater nobody was hurt.


Fred's father was in the home guard and had a bell in his bedroom that was connected to the house of the Company's Commanding Officer (CO) who lived only a few doors away. If in the night, news reached that a German invasion was imminent the CO would ring the bell and then Fred's father had to inform the rest of the squad. The home guard also had a platform in an oak tree at the top of Sheepshead Hill that was used as a lookout. They placed big logs, held in place by stakes, along the slopes of the road - in the event of an invasion the stakes would be pulled out leaving the logs to roll into the road so stopping the German progress - as Fred added at least along Sheepshead Hill.


Fred attended what is now Wells Hall Old School and then onto the Grammar School in Sudbury. From there Fred went to London and did a five year apprenticeship on diesel and electrical engineering after which he had two years compulsory National Service most of which was spent in Egypt. When Fred eventually came back to Cornard he went to work at his family's garage in Gainsborough Street, which stood opposite the Drill Hall. The garage had been in the family since around 1820 when it built and repaired horse-drawn carriages. When mechanical transport took the place of the horse and carriage Fred's great uncle changed the premises into a garage, servicing cars and lorries as well as selling petrol. When Bakers Mill was smaller Bloys garage looked after all of their vehicles.


Fred married Olive in 1960 and they have two sons and two grandsons who bring them a lot of happiness. One of the places that Fred and Olive used to visit was the local cinema - The County -which used to be where Winch & Blatch Homeware Store now stands. The cinema was very grand and had a restaurant and a uniformed doorman.


Olive was a district nurse for 20 years working in Cornard and surrounding villages. It was hard work but very fulfilling. Fred and his brothers decided to sell their garage in 1986 as none of their sons were interested in carrying on the business. Fred, who couldn't be idle, became house manager at Weavers Court Retirement Home in Sudbury. He was on 24-hour call and did everything in the home from maintenance to administration.


Olive and Fred are now retired after both having busy and fulfilling occupations giving service to others and now as Fred says they are enjoying the peace and quiet. However they still keep busy and each has their own hobbies. May they both have a long and happy retirement.


Interview by Joan Herbert (Cornard News) – 06 May 2007