My darling Aunty Corale

GOODBYE…the final farewell.

It is so hard to lose someone who has been a part of your life forever. Even when you know the end is near, your head knows it but not your heart.

Corale Fearn,was the youngest daughter of James Handley Fearn and Harriet Fearn (Tatton)

Jim( James) made a good living as a watch maker in East Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottingham, and had two shops, One where he started and his only son also names James Handley in the second.

At the beginning of WWll, the younger joined he RCAF . As he was already trained on watches and clocks, he became an instrument mechanic. Among his posting was the Sahara Desert.

He was captured by Rommel and also released with his mates on Christmas day 1943 with a cigarette and a word from Rommel himself, saying ” I cannot feed my own men, I will not have prisoners under my command starve to death as well. They were taken to a nearby town and released.

On his return he did three things.. ran wild , played hell in the community, settled down and married Marie Bloore and took over ownership of Fearns Jeweler.

He was the darling of the family, being the only boy. He had sister Rosa and Sarah,  a sister that died of measles and was called Muriel and the baby of the family, Corale.

Corale’s siblings thought she was  spoiled rotten, however in her eyes she always had to compete with Muriel and how could a little girl compete with an Angel.


Eddy Grice and Hetty

She grew up having met the love of her life in School Eddy Grice. she played the field but always came back to Eddy.

They eventually married and decided that they would devote their life to each other and to the rescue and support of dogs.

Eddy was  a pit boss at the coal mine in Kirkby-in-Ashfield and earned a good living. This was augmented by clock ( grandfather type) for Granddad. Occasionally Eddy aided his own dad as a turf accountant

There are stories about them carrying home a grandfather clock through the village on a wheel barrow, and other escapades that young people do.

They bought a lovely character home called Station house. It was a home used by Lord George.
In the Asian Flu epidemic in the 60’s James Sr, laid on the sofa and died.

In due course, his widow, Harriet came to live with Coral and Eddy.

If anyone one in our family was being miserable, the saying was ” she has a bit of old Harriet in her!”

So from then till her death, they lived under Harriet’s large and domineering thumb. It has been said many times that they deserved medals for looking after her.

We immigrated to Canada after the war, Rosa married, divorced and remarried. Muriel was Rosa’s daughter adopted by her grandparent. Unheard of in those day and for this sin, Harriet didn’t speak to her for 42 years.They only reconciled when Harriet was on her deathbed.


Richard and Penny at Buckingham Palace

Rosa, and husband number one and two are no longer alive, neither are her son’s Richard and Freddie and his late wife June. Richards wife Penny, their daughter Lorna and husband and their daughter Holly still live in London.

Rosa had two other  Richard or Dickie. For some reason, Dickie was not the favorite son  So spent a lot of time with his grandparents . He and Corale were inseparable. They were more like brother and sister.

Sarah had married Stanley Fredrick Spinks (ASA Raynor) and had Michael and six years later

gave birth to me, patty-anne.

Stanley left for part unknown. After seven years of continuing absence, was declared legally dead.

Sarah remarried Archie Stevenson of Scotland, and later Cowichan where he has 1,160 acres and farmed 260 head of Ayrshire cattle at Fairbridge Farms

Michael also joined the youngster, but was always causing trouble and hurting his cousins, so he was a burden that they suffered under until finally they found they could gang up on him and put him in his place.

Handley and Marie had difficulties when Marie was diagnosed with TB and was in a sanitarium for 2 years. They had started their family with Sarah Jane who had to live with Corale and Eddy and of course Harriet.

It was in 1969  I first went home to visit my relatives and to introduce them to my daughter, Harriet’s first great granddaughter Rae-anne Linette.


Jim, Corale and Olga

It was after her death, I made my first visit to Eddy and Corale without Harriet in their new house at Wessington. A wonderful place. I fell in love with a land of enchantment.

Corale had gathered a group of friends who would all walk their dogs together daily, and the women got together in Corale’s huge Kitchen and make crafts for sale to support their work with the RSPCA.

During these idyllic years, Eddy had a heart attack  and was prohibited from driving for 6 months. With a lot of soul searching, they decided it was best to move to a village, so Corale, a non driver, would be able to carry on if anything happened to Eddy.

It did indeed happened to Eddy, and after months in hospital, he died and left the only woman he loved.


Wednesday night was always craft night

Luckily, Corale would keep her old friends and gather new ones as time went by.


Handstitch Teddy’s sold to raise money for the RSPCA

I visited every two years and we became very close. She had the ability to make you feel as if you were special, and as with the cousins before, She and I became as sister.

When my husband was dying with pancreatic cancer, she phoned every week through the nightmare 7 months.

The last time I was over, it was plain to see that Corale was going to leave me soon. She had COPD brought on by smoking since she stole her dad’s Woodbinds at 12 years old.

I arranged for Homemakers and meal makers. I arranged for Dr and visiting nurses and made everything I could do to make her life as easily to manage as possible..

Her canine companion of the time was Merlin. A Jack Russel.

We made arrangement for him to go to a dog home for his retirement and a healthy donation to make sure he would have all he needed. He had developed diabetes and required a lot of care.

Just after Christmas, she entered hospital and Merlin went to his forever home. I must have broken her dear heart to make that decision.

From the time Eddy died, she had a good friend Herbert Keys, artist, singer and writer.

Everyday he would drive her to one of her treks and she would walk with Merlin, sometimes with friends, mostly alone or with me for 4 hours. Then a quick call to Herbert and he would pick her up.

He also made it a priority to take Corale and Frances, another widow on an outing once a week or so. They went far and wide, exploring, stopping for lunch and generally enjoying each others company.

Eddy’s best friend Albert, came over every Wednesday evening for a game of scrabble. He being a rugged Yorkshire man would battle on the legitimacy of a word, so I bought the biggest Scrabble dictionary I could find.



Minnie lived next door and the two women would leave their back doors open so the first up would put the kettle on and they would start the day with friendship.

Minnie loved Corale and held her hand on the 4th of March as God called Corale home.



For several weeks prior to her death , they would take turns looking after Corale. Francis would sit with her by day, Minnie by night.

Pastor Hand would pop over and offer spiritual guidance or just a cheery word.

He eventually take her funeral in the Baptist Church directly across from Corale’s house at Ivy Dene Cottage #1 Sandy Lane, Crich.Image

So another chapter of life closes. The last of the Fearn line died with Corale.

There are three cousins left Sarah Jane, Lorna, and me. On Eddy;s side, he has a twin brother John, and they have two sons Ian and Paul.

So My love, I hope you are in the land of many mansions. There are many there to meet you. And there are many here that miss you.

I thank all those people in your life that made it so rich. I miss some one, but coming to mind are:

Frances Noble, Minnie, her next door neighbour, Herbert Keys, Jeannette Taylor, Marie Pate, Helen Fearn,Olga and the late Bob Crowden, Albert Palfiman, Jenet and Mick Bloore, Barb and David Browning, Pastor Hand,  and all who were lucky enough to know my Aunty Corale Grice.


Bridge in Derwent forest

Crich Trough. Ky Aunts house in the background and the Baptist Church across the road


Corale in a field of Blue Bells


Corale and Dolly


One of the Derwent Bridges where they filmed Dam Busters


One of my favorite sights, field of wild garlic


Hetty, a dog in a milllion


Jeannette and Jim off to take pictures


The Crich Cross


Megan, a mid size schnauzer


Olga, a frequent hiking friend of Corale


View from top of Crich Hill


stopping for a breather and a snack for the pack.


Megan having a mud bath


Mostinand Dolly enjoying a cool mud bath


Jim and Hetty




Having a chat


When I saw this sign on my first visit I knew I would return. I never dreamed that in 8 years, I would be bringing my husband’s ashes here.


Mostin, Albert’s dog


Arkwrights satanic mills, the beginning of the industrial revolution


Lea House where Florence Nightingale was born


Wessington Bear and friend. All creations of the ladies of Wessington


No planted garden can equal what God creates


View from Top Hill


I could never understand why the front door is so close to the pavement.


Jim’s ashes rest here by a Red Oak planted by the “gang”


Idyllic walk. The dogs ignore the lambs, who ignore the dogs


Nice to have a clean river to dunk the dogs in after a mud bath.





The Baptist Church at Crich


About Lea Wisdom

I am a fairly happy college educated, widow. A mother of two dependent dogs and successfully raised 6 children to adults I am a science and history loving nerd by nature, print junkie, yarn hording, spinning, weaving,coffee drinking, hand and machine knitting student of life. I make my living from Income Tax Preparations, and the sale of fibre produced goods. Knitting Dryer balls, felting, and yarn. I work with sheep and alpaca fibres and I am constantly learning. I feel like a sponge. There are so many interesting things to learn and do. I hope I have enough time to try them all. I am fortunate that my sons encourage me to try everything that peeks my interest. I have friends who help me learn. Thank you . All of you. Not a complicated person. What you see is what you get. I love the Lord, my family, my country and my friends. I believe we all have the right to dignity. And we only have one trip through life.Let's make the most of it.

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