November is a time for remembering and the Swanmore community remembers with love and affection, Bill Jones, whose funeral took place on November 24. 

Although his parents lived in Liverpool, Irene, his mother, went to live with relatives in Wales while Bill senior, who served in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was stationed in India, Burma and France, so Bill was born in Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1941. 

When the war ended, Bill’s father went to work in Hamburg and Irene and Bill joined him in 1946.

The Jones’ made some very close friends in Germany, more like family; Bill became fluent in German and attended a British boarding school in Plon where he made more life-long friends. Later, the family moved around as Bill senior was transferred to other cities such as Soltau and Celle, before returning to England to live. After moving from Birkenhead to Berwick on Tweed and Kidderminster, the family settled in Little Sutton.

Bill did a five-year mechanical engineering apprenticeship in metal containers at Ellesmere Port and then worked for the recently opened Vauxhall Motors small-car production centre until he retired.
Bill started ‘dating’ Diane Youd from Helsby and used to pick her up on his motorbike although her parents didn’t know he had a motorbike! They enjoyed ballroom dancing lessons together and were awarded several silver medals in competitions. They married on September 5 1964.

Hampshire Chronicle: Bill Jones

Diane and Bill continued to explore the UK with Vauxhall Motors Caravan and Camping club, and Bill became the vice-chairman and then the chairman. They also visited numerous places abroad including Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Thailand and Canada. Bill was very sociable, he enjoyed fancy dress parties, disco’s, BBQ’s and trying the cuisine in all the different countries they visited. 

Bill and his wife Diane moved to Swanmore in 2009 to be nearer their daughters, Gail and Kay and grandchildren Megan, Luke, Rebecca and Zak. 

Diane’s health was deteriorating and in time Bill became her full-time carer. They started to attend St Barnabas church, became involved in home-groups, made lots of friends and in 2011 Bill, Kay and Megan were all confirmed. 

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Alastair Walton recalls that in 2013, when conversations started happening about potential uses for the barely-used Old School Room, Bill, amongst many others, got behind the idea of the creation of a community coffee shop. He quickly became an active member of the Barnaby’s Business Team (BBT) - the team that runs the business to this day, nearly ten years on. When Bill stood down from the BBT around 18 months ago, he was gifted “free coffee for life” - something he made sure he got every time he visited subsequently!

After Diane passed away in 2014, Bill became a churchwarden. Janet Chant and Bill worked together as churchwardens for three years, during which time they were kept busy as the Lych gate fell down and the Holm Oak fell onto the Link!

Janet remembers: “Bill liked to drive and used satnav with confidence! On one journey to a Diocesan conference at the Old Thorns Hotel, the ‘back seat drivers’ were allowed to direct the out-going route. On the return journey Bill and Sidney Dean insisted they knew a better route. Back seat drivers were dismissed. Then we were treated to an interesting tour around Waterlooville and Horndean and eventually ended up on the M27- we got back to Swanmore about half an hour later than the rest of the group!”

Bill lived life to the full and was willing to give anything a go; during his life he enjoyed caravanning, travelling to different countries and trying out the local food, sailing, motorbiking, cycling, ice skating, line-dancing, archery, playing cards, squash, gardening, DIY, going to the gym and swimming- he wasn’t even phased by riding on a camel!

Bill was loyal, trustworthy, hardworking, brave, and generous, with a brilliant sense of humour; he was happy to lend a hand to anyone that needed it and always on the search for a bargain or a good deal!

Living life to the full was even made possible through the last few months; with his new friend Paul Maduna (his live-in carer) by his side, they visited Barnaby’s and St Barnabas and he was able to remain a part of the community.

Bill made a huge contribution to Swanmore village life and we will miss him enormously. We echo Janet’s words: “I will miss Bill, but I will remember him with a smile, he was our good friend”. 

Thank you, Bill. 

By Revd Jill Phipps

Bill Jones, 1941-2023