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Remembering Ivy Scales from Stanhoe

In his weekly Turnstone column, John Maiden tells the story of a remarkable lady...

Last Tuesday I considered myself fortunate to be in the congregation at All Saints Church, Stanhoe for the funeral of my very good friend Ivy Scales. At the conclusion of last week's Turnstone I mentioned how I came to meet Ivy and her sister Barbara at a presentation given by Brian Holmes and me. It was at this event that I discovered the local knowledge the sisters possessed on West Norfolk, having been born and raised in, or near Stanhoe, where, from an early age Ivy had been closely involved with the village church.

In Ivy's eulogy the Reverend Peter Cook spoke about this part of Ivy's formative years, and from what he said I sensed that the Scales family was as close and supportive as I had always believed it to be. I am well placed to say as much, because Ivy's son Dougie was one of my most excellent students at Hunstanton Secondary Modern School, where I taught English and Religious Education in the early 1970s.

Ivy Scales in Merchant Navy attire
Ivy Scales in Merchant Navy attire

When I asked Peter Cook for a copy of his words, he drew my attention to back numbers of Hunstanton Town & Around magazine, which contained a beautifully abridged version of Ivy's life story as told to Margi Blunden of the Hunstanton Society. With a little help from David Jones, another of my very good friends, I found Margi's words on the Hunstanton Society's website, along with a picture from the 1950s of Scales Hardware store in the High Street at Hunstanton. This store fondly remembered from my own youth, was owned by one of Ivy's uncles.

Other uncles settled further afield by emigrating to Australia, whereas her father acquired a pub in Stanhoe, which did rather well in the years when RAF Sculthorpe was home to the USAF. From an early age, Ivy had wanted to be a sailor, following in the footsteps of local hero, Nelson, rather than work in a pub named after him! Eventually, her dream was realised when she joined the Merchant Navy and travelled the world on cruise ships, before settling in Switzerland, where she worked for the UN.

The old Scales shop in Hunstanton
The old Scales shop in Hunstanton

Retirement forced her hand and she chose to live in Dersingham, near to her sister Barbara and other family members. I am not alone in praising Ivy for following her dream, while at the same time caring for other people and animals - especially cats, hedgehogs, and swallows, which return to this country every year only to have some of their nests demolished by cruel and thoughtless individuals...

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