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Page updated - 19 February 2005

Mrs. Freestone.

Mrs Evelyn Freestone came to Gt. Cornard from North Elmham, Norfolk, in 1953 to take over the grocery business on the Bures Road when rationing was still in force. She was weighing all dry ingredients and measuring 2 ounces of butter and margarine per person until later that year when rationing ceased. The value of businesses in those days was calculated on the number of people registered there.


There have been other changes over the years. In 1953, ‘post-war’ building had started with the council houses opposite the bungalows in Pot Kiln Road. The main roads were Kings Hill, Head Lane, Canhams Road, Wells Hall Road, Broom Street, Pot Kiln Road, Sudbury Road and Bures Road that ran from Chaplins Corner (where Motorists Discount shop now is – Ed.) to the Brook Pub House. Other roads and thoroughfares have come with the building of new estates – Stannard Way was a footpath running beside the allotments on which Glenside was built. A little later Sudbury Road was renamed Bures Road when the houses were given numbers.


Mrs. Freestone was a keen member of the W.I. in Gt. Cornard for many years. She held the offices of Secretary, then Treasurer and also President for 3 years. The Committee meetings were held at her house at one period. She was a keen gardener in her younger days and a member of Cornard Horticultural Society. During her time at the shop she managed to take two holidays abroad in 1966 & 1967. Her working hours were long, 8am to 6pm, but this was not new to her as her father and grandfather had been in the grocery and drapery business.


Everyone in Gt. Cornard at the time can remember a really nasty incident in 1984 when Mrs. Freestone was attacked in the shop. However, even this incident at the age of 75 years did not put her off, as she did not retire until 6 years later when the shop was taken over in June 1990. Mark Newman bought the business in 1990 but found it difficult to make a good living as Supermarkets, by this time, were the ‘in-thing’. However, he now has a successful second-hand business there and Mrs. Freestone finds it a great comfort to have him and his young family popping in and out. It is also nice the premises still have a retail use unlike the other two shops in close proximity which are now private houses. By coincidence, a Mrs. Mary Newman lived at No.26 Bures Road, a cottage that was converted to a shop in the 1920’s – no planning required in those days. It was run as a general store for about seventy years and now has second-hand store run by Mark Newman, so the name of Newman has returned to No. 26.


At the wonderful age of 92, Mrs Freestone still has marvellous eyesight and enjoys watching all kinds of sport on TV and is a keen stamp & postcard collector. This great old lady was still driving until 1996, acting as a visitor and chauffeur for friends. She has a very faithful pet in Percy, her parrot, which she has had since he was a fledging & he is also a grand age at 36 years.


Mrs. Freestone, we wish you good health and good luck for the future. Cornard News is looking forward to doing another interview in a few years time on your 100th birthday.


Interview by Doris Rowland (Cornard News) – 28 October 2001