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Ray Chaplin

Page updated - 30 August 2009


Raymond and his brother John Chaplin were both born in Great Cornard five years apart. Ray was born in a small cottage in Phillips Field Road and then John in a house on the corner called in those days St. Johns Villa, the sons of a local coal merchant who had his coal yard in the same road.




Ray, as he is always known is the eldest of three children, a sister born in the middle. He left school at 14 years and went to work at Martens Printing Works on the Market Hill where he was trained as a printer until he volunteered for the RAF at the age of 17 in 1944. He joined as an electrician and after serving his training period he was sent to Singapore and Malaysia. When he returned to civvy-street his old job at Martens was no longer available. Whilst he could have insisted on being re-employed (ex-servicemen had that right) he decided to move on and went to work for Stephen Walters as a loom tackler where he remained for 43 years. Whilst working at Stephen Walters factory in Lavenham he met his wife Lily to who he has been married for 56 years. They were married in St Andrews Church in 1953 and in time had two daughters and a son. Lily and Ray had the bungalow in which they live built and have lived there all their married life.


Both Ray and John have been involved with St. Andrews Church since they were eight years old and they both joined the choir. Ray has served with nine vicars including Revd. Jamie Allen, our present vicar. It was in his 50's that Ray was elected Church Warden, a post he held till he retired two years ago. Because of his sterling service to the church Ray was nominated to receive Maundy Money from the Queen at Bury St Edmunds Cathedral in April this year. 83 men and women who are the same age as the Queen and who have served their communities in some capacity for many years were chosen and each recipient was given two purses, one scarlet and one white leather. The scarlet purse contained a 5 coin with the Queens head on the front and on the back a commemoration of Henry VIII's coronation in 1509, also a 50 pence piece commemorating the opening of Kew Gardens in 1759. The white purse had a collection of small coins amounting to the number 83 in small plastic envelopes.  It was a proud day for Ray and his wife.


Ray and his brother John are both unassuming and hard working brothers who have lived their lives trying to help others.  The community would be a poorer place without them and Cornard is lucky they have chosen to live here. 




Interview by Doris Rowland Cornard News - 7 August 2009