Mavis Jean Hallam (Our Mave)
Mavis was born in
Liverpool in September 1942. Her father was a Merchant Seaman
and was away at sea at the time. It was a while before Mavis
saw her Dad, owing to war commitments of the Merchant Navy.
He was away so much in the first two and a half years of her life, she
even thought her Uncle was her Dad. At the end of the war her
Father left the Merchant Navy and decided to get as far away from the
sea as he could. He chose such a different life and became a
farm worker and brought all of his family of a son and two daughters
down to Blakenhall Farm Barton-under-Needwood. This is when
Mavis was just three years old. Her Mother found country life
a bit difficult after spending all of her life in the City of
Liverpool. Then another son was born whilst at Barton.
In the following years they had an annual pilgrimage for
their annual holiday up to Liverpool, with a return visit of a lot of
relations down to Barton.
When Mavis was thirteen her Dad changed his job and this
involved a change of address to another cottage at Grange Farm
Croxall. Mavis then changed school to attend Perrycrofts
School at Tamworth.
On leaving school at fifteen Mavis got
a job in Wallace’s seed and gardening shop in High Street in
Burton-on-Trent. This shop had previously been Hallam’s the
Chemist and various medicine bottles were still in the basement with
their labels on. She enjoyed this job and although she was a
shy person, this work overcame her shyness. Her daily journey
to work involved a bike ride from where she lived at Croxall the three
miles to Alrewas, then a ride on the Midland Red Bus to
Burton. Then the reverse of the journey in the evening after
the shop closed at 5.30, six days a week. The road between
Croxall and Alrewas was quite prone to flooding from the River
Tame. Often Mavis would pedal through the floods on her way
to work in a morning filling her shoes with floodwater, then after her
days work would then have to face these floods again in the evening
when the water would often be deeper. On one occasion the
wave from a passing lorry forced her off her bike and she had to wade
through until she got to a point where she could then get back on again
to continue her ride. Getting home soaked through to the skin
and freezing cold.
It was in June 1958 when Mavis’s life would change
forever. It was a Monday night. Mavis had cycled
from her home a little over two miles to attend the weekly Youth Club
at Edingale Village Hall on that evening. It had been a
generally wet day, but during the evening the rain started to stair-rod
down. David happened to be outside that village hall at
Edingale in his recently acquired Austin 10 Sherbourne saloon
car. As Mavis came to leave David said “I know you live a
little way up the road. Can I give you a lift? I
can put your bike on the back.” She accepted.
That was the start of
fifty eight years of friendship and marriage of almost fifty three
During their courtship they took an interest in ballroom
dancing and got a few medals. They would from time to time go
on a journey to Liverpool to visit Mavis’s Aunts and Uncles including
her Uncle Arch who she had lived with in those very early years.
On one journey up to Liverpool
it was a mizzly day damping the ground. They drove out of the
Mersey Tunnel into Liverpool from Birkenhead. At that time
the streets were cobbled and the tram lines were still in place
although the trams had not long finished. They were met by
traffic in all directions. There was a Policeman in a Pillbox
in the middle of the junction directing traffic.
Unfortunately for David his old Austin 10 got on to the slightly sunken
tramlines and try as hard as he could to get off these lines, just
followed them in a big curve right around the front of the Policeman in
his Pillbox, taking David’s car in the wrong direction, leaving a
Policeman waving his arms and blowing his whistle. It was
another fifty yards or so before the old car could get off of these
tracks and find somewhere to turn round. As they went back
past the Pillbox the Policeman blew his whistle at them and
demonstrated with his arms. That way – That way.
David did manage to keep off the tram lines after that.
During one of the dances that were held regularly at the
Burton Town Hall Mavis entered the competition for the Carnival Queen
of Burton-on-Trent in 1960. She won and during that summer
became the Carnival Queen of Burton and attended various events in
Burton during the summer. What a lovely Queen she was
too. It was during the time Mavis was Carnival Queen that
David and Mavis became engaged to be married. June was the
chosen date of the Engagement.
As they became engaged the need to start saving money was a
new priority. Mavis was reluctant to leave her job in the
seed shop, but to get more money Mavis got a job in a factory in Burton
making toilet rolls.
The Wedding of David and Mavis
was then fixed and the day was to be June 1962. What a
fantastic day that was in their lives. The families all
congregated at Walton-on-Trent Church and Vicar Wells conducted the
Wedding service. They were to become one from two.
Mavis on the left and David on the right. That is how they
remained always. The reception filled the Institute at Walton
which went on until very late. The first dance of the event
was led by David and Mavis dancing to Elvis Presley “Love me Tender.”
Their home was made in a farm cottage at Flint Mills Farm
Drakelowe a nice little quiet place right on the tip of South
They set out the next morning to travel to Cornwall for a
Honeymoon, but due to a road accident, their honeymoon was spent in the
Warwick Hospital in different Wards.
It was three more years before they finally got to Cornwall
for a holiday. They went with friends and the weather was the
best that Cornwall had seen for years.
In December 1965 their first Son was born. They
were delighted with the addition to their family. The two had
become one and had now become three.
It was in 1967 when they were out one Sunday for a ride out,
that Mavis spotted a Steam Road Roller in a scrapyard at Little
Stoke. A quick turn around and there it was. The
roller was purchased in the following three weeks. It was
bought with Mavis’s savings while both David and Mavis were
working. She was now the owner of a steam road roller.
Later in November 1968 number 2 Son was born. Mavis
and David now had Philip and Jonathan the family had now grown to a
total of four, with the fifth following before too long Nicholas was
born in December 1969.
September 1969 saw David and Mavis instrumental in the
setting up of the Klondyke Centre for Steam Engines and the
preservation of machinery.
Around this time David and Mavis sat watching an item on
television one evening. It was a car hopping and bouncing
over a really rough piece of grassland and finishing up right near the
front of quite a large house. Before the car came to a stop
Mavis quipped “Really Martha we must get that drive
repaired.” This saying would be joked about time after time,
year upon year.
Mavis loved her
children and would do anything for them. It seemed like David
and Mavis did not have the formula to produce a Daughter. But
hey-presto it was suddenly found seven years later when a lovely
bouncing baby girl Stephanie arrived in December 1976. Mavis
was fair elated her family was now complete. It seemed like a
bonus to her. She loved all of her children. She
loved all of activities she took part in.
Over the next few years Mavis helped with the organising of a
lot of steam events with herself and a little handful of friends always
organised the making and selling the refreshments at all of the events
to be held at the Klondyke site. They always produced an
electric ten gallon boiler full of the most delicious stew for everyone
who brought an engine or anything else to the event, just as a
recompense for their help. Exhibitors would fall over
themselves to bring their machines. The stew was legendary at
that time. All this as well as looking after her lovely
She even loaded
herself with more work by joining the committee of the Traction Engine
Club, a position she held up to the end. Well over 30 years.
For a while Mavis also ran the Draycott Children’s
Playgroup. Herself and Daughter Stephanie also played a big
part at Draycott Church and attended weekly. She helped with
Village Hall activities as well as the Committee of Draycott Show, even
helping to plant all of the daffodils around the village, paid for by
profits from the show. All this and lots of other little
things too numerous to mention. The smile on her face was
infectious. She made everyone feel happy.
Her illnesses started with contracting Diabetes.
This in turn led to a heart attack at the age of 45. Mavis
was soon back taking part in her busy schedule without a complaint of
her illness. Mavis managed to control her diabetes for a long
while by diet, but as the years passed her condition got slowly worse.
Over the next six years or so her three boys got married and
before long she had been presented with four Grandchildren, two boys
and two girls. Her family base got bigger. Mavis’s
love for them all seemed to grow with the size of her family.
One regular weekly
trip Mavis did, was to pick up Daughter in Law Kate and Granddaughter
Sophie to go to the cattle market in Uttoxeter to see the cows.
Her illness continued to worsen but Mavis still took on more
work by becoming a volunteer for Oxfam and spending time on that in the
Uttoxeter shop. Still continuing with most of her other
activities. The Oxfam venture only ceased when the Uttoxeter
shop closed and brought to an end of over eleven years volunteering.
Her mobility started to suffer
which forced a cutback on a number of her activities. This
really disappointed Mavis having to admit that should she give up on a
number of people her busy world would start to fall apart.
Her spirits were lifted when her last three Grandsons were
born. Two of whom would grow up in Mavis and David’s home
along with Stephanie. However, Mavis’s health problems got
greater with her mobility becoming a major issue to her.
Breast cancer took a toll although she overcame it. Following
that came heart arrhythmia that hospitalised her for a week, during
which she had a pacemaker inserted. The first one failed and
she had to go over that all again to have another one. Mavis
then discovered that her kidneys were in a serious condition and a
transplant was out of the question owing to all of her other
complaints. She had a few other operations too for other
health complaints, yet always when asked how she was would say “I’m
Still refusing to give up
easily Mavis joined the Etwall Dancing Club. Although it was
so hard for her to try and dance. To keep her mind active
Mavis would watch quiz shows, also she would do puzzles in the
newspaper and for a long while would play dominoes in the Tutbury
With all of her health issues no-one ever heard one complaint
from Mavis and her lovely smile will live with us all
forever. Everyone loves you Mavis. Our Mave.