Ben lost his long fight (15 years) against cancer but is now out of pain. He will be buried in our wood. Being a very private man he only wanted very close family, his brother and sister, our children and grandchildren to be present. He will be remembered with a Cricket Tea, and his favourite bat will go with him.
Precis of Ralph's Life Story
Ralph was born in Stranraer, in Scotland, on 12th May 1942 to Ralph and Betty Batchelor. His father was stationed in Scotland in the RAF during WWII. Ralph's elder sister, Valerie, was born the previous year. Betty and the children returned to London in 1944 to live with her parents at 23 Cavendish Road, Harringay, where Ralph's brothers, John and Phillip, were born.
His first school was South Harringay Primary. Valerie had the unenviable task of taking him to school and hearing constant reports of, "Your Ralph is outside Mr. Wilson's door again." Mr. Wilson was the headmaster and administered the cane. Ralph was usually in trouble for climbing on the roof to collect the football or fighting with his best friend, Eddie Plumb. When taking him anywhere, Valerie always said, "Ralph, please be good.", but he never was. Ralph took the 11+ exam and was not expected to pass because he had paid little attention to his lessons. The class teacher, Mrs. Gaze, asked those who had passed to move to the side, and when Ralph went to join them, she thought he had made a mistake and asked to see his letter. He had, in fact, passed the 11+ exam, and went to the Stationers' Company School for Boys.
His major interests were football and cricket, and he continued to be in constant trouble, leaving at 16 to work at Frederick Sage, shopfitters, specialising in buying timber and veneers, eventually gaining HNC in Business Studies at evening classes and becoming Purchasing Manager.
Ralph married Stefanya on the 1st of May 1965; having bought a house near Royston and commuting to London, Ralph was "headhunted" by one of Sage's suppliers and after working in Stourbridge and living in hotels searching for a new home for 9 months only meeting up at week-ends, they moved to The Farm in 1971. Villagers apparently commented "What do those two young people want a big house like that for?". Three years later Grey was born, followed by Abigail in 1977 and Hannah in 1984, so the house was soon filled.
You may be aware that Ralph better known at OS as Ben formed part of a famous half back line on the football field together with Charlie Cruden and Mike Hasler that carried the team through various school years with a great deal of success. He continued to play football and Cricket for the Old Boy's Association, however this now had to be limited to yearly visits. Despite working away regularly, Ralph was always active in village life whether playing cricket or in more recent years sitting on the recreation ground committee and working for the youth club.
Two years after moving to The Farm, he was out of a job and decided to start his own business as a Steel Mill's Agent finding customers for German and Italian producers of very specialised steels. This entailed a lot of travel throughout the UK, Europe and latterly India, travel was always something to be relished and enjoyed. His young German and Italian colleagues, now some 40 years older, have all said that his experience and tutoring taught them a great deal about negotiating and business, expressing their admiration for his generosity and honesty.
A wonderful father and grandfather, savouring all the humour and love that these roles bring with them. He recently said that his only regret in life was not living long enough to see the grandchildren grow up and flourish. He and I had wonderful memories of happy times with old friends at OS Football Matches and Cricket matches from the early 60's until our last visit to Botany Bay a year ago. I have lost a good man.