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Jimmy Corbin WILLIAM James “Jimmy” Corbin, DFC and Bar (95), lived for 14 years in Weavering and before that in Fauchons Lane, Bearsted, and London Road. He was Maidstone’s last surviving Battle of Britain pilot, and had been the subject of press atten- tion in recent years, following the 2007 publication of his book Last of the Ten Fighter Boys. The book was intended as a sequel to a classic work on the last war, The Ten Fighter Boys, which chronicled the experi- ences of 10 fighter pilots from Biggin Hill. Jimmy was the last survivor of the group. Raised locally and a pupil at Maidstone Technical School, Jimmy qualified as a teacher be- fore the war and started work be- fore volunteering with the RAF. His postings included both Biggin Hill and West Malling. He ended the conflict with a term in North Africa and a post- ing in the West Country, where he earned enough respect to have his own Spitfire sporting his initials. He retired with the rank of Flight Lieutenant, by which time he had earned his Bar by being twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After returning to teaching at


the school where he was a pupil, he metwife Jeanne in the Queen’s Head pub in Maid- stone. They married in 1955 and raised children Brian,Anne andMargot. Jimmy was a member of Bearsted Golf Club from 1968 until his death. He served as captain in 1980 and his wife was also a member. Jimmy was honoured by Maidstone borough when he was awarded the Freedom of Maidstone. He was also a long- term freemason. Jeanne said: “Jimmy was a


true gentleman, and very mod- est about his achievements; when asked about his time as a fighter pilot he would say: “We just got on and did it.’” The final paragraph in his book says: “So what was it that got me through. I don’t know. In the final analysis I think it was just luck.”


Jimmy leaves his wife, chil-


dren and grandchildren Meghan, Andrew, Thomas, Emma and Daniel.


David Beevis DAVID Beevis (77), of Marion Crescent, Shepway, lived locally for 48 years. The former Fleet Air Arm (FAA) officer was born in Crowborough, but moved to Kingswood, near Ulcombe. He met his wife of 56 years, Sylvia, before he entered the services. The couple moved around as David rose through the rankswith the FAA, working


28 East


We will remember


on aircraft, managing teams and serving on aircraft carriers. He was father to Christopher, Stephen, Jonathan and Vanessa. David left the services and fol-


lowed a career in engineering, living in Barming before spend- ing his final 27 years at Marion Crescent. He worked for Tilling- ham Stevens until they closed and went on to work for Med- way Repetitions, working on ar- tificial limbs. Meningitis left him with per- manent health problems and after recovering from the worst of the illness, David spent his final working years with RBL In- dustries in Aylesford. His wife Sylvia said: “David always had a lot of fight and a will to succeed. He battled the illness and the after-effects. He played sports in his younger days and enjoyed fishing. He also loved gardening.” David leaves hiswife, children


and grandchildren Emma, Char- lotte, Alex, Claire, Stephy, Is- abelle and Jonathan.


Brian Cannell BRIAN Cannell (76), of Heather Drive, Maidstone,was known lo- cally from his 30 years as an art teacher and senior master at Senacre Technology College. He also worked as a historical


tour guide at All Saints’ Church, Maidstone, and had undertaken other projects, including design- ing Christmas cards to be sold in aid of restoring one of Maid- stone’s old trolleybuses. Locally raised and a former student at Maidstone Grammar School andMaidstone College of Art, Brian had two jobs before joining the staff at Senacre. He had also played cricket forWest Farleigh.


Ivy Symonds IVY Symonds (97) lived in Plan- tation Lane, Bearsted, from 1978. Born Ivy Harwood and raised in London, her earlier homes were in Bal- ham and Herne Hill. She married husband Cyril in 1936. Cyril’s fam-


ily ran the first specialist au- tomotive electrical business in Britain, but the war put Cyril and Ivy into the London Fire Service, where as a dispatcher Ivy had to send crews – some- times including Cyril or her own brother – to the placeswhere the bombs were falling. Ivy left the fire service after having a baby in 1942. Ivy and Cyril raised children David, Lesley and Colin. Colin said: “My mother was really good at craft activities and, like many of her generation, she made clothes for her children.


“She moved locally to be near


her daughter Lesley and joined a local community in Plantation Lane that had its own social life. Shewas smiley and positive and did lots of babysitting for her grandchildren. She loved baking andwas known for being gentle, happy and kind.” Ivy was widowed in 1981 and


had a stroke in 2006, after which Colin became her carer. She leaves her children, grandchil- dren Ian, Paul, Alan andHeather and great-granddaughter Eva.


John Stanford JOHN Stanford (64) lived in Hastings Road, Maidstone, his whole life and was known from hismem- bership of the Barmy Army Film Club, a local group of Dad’s Army af- ficionados known for making their ownfilms based on the classic series and also fundraising for charity. John was also a keen real ale enthusiast and a member of the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale. John bought his own home, across the road from the one where he’d grown up in Hastings Road. He worked for Seeboard, but retired early to care for his mother when she be- came infirm. John’s death had a fitting ele-


ment of slapstick when police and bomb disposal experts were alerted after the discovery of his body, when a cache of arms was found in his home. A grenade found among the


items caused particular concern, until it was discovered to be a decommissioned device, used in John’s work with the Barmy Army Film Club. The club’s website has an- nounced the death of their own “Corporal Jones” and the group’s chairman, Colin Taylor, has ex- tolled hiswork in fundraising for charities like the Royal British Legion and RAF Benevolent Fund. Colin Taylor’s partner, Debo-


rah Dean, said: “John was very active in Maidstone. He loved politics and was a great fundraiser for our charitable causes.” John – who had no family of his own – leaves two cousins.


Geoffrey McCue GEOFFREY McCue (70), of Ash- ford Road, Bearsted, was one of the best-known cricketers in the area, with a record of many years involvement in the local game. He spent much of his life in Medway; he played for cricket teams in the Medway area and was part of the Kent Under 19 squad that included future Eng- land international Derek Under-


wood. Geoffrey had twice won the Ronson Batting award, pre- sented by the Kent Messenger. His son Neil has spoken of Ge- offrey’s passion for sports and music (he had a massive collec- tion of film music). Geoffrey leaves his wife, Maureen, four children and five grandchildren.


Jean Burston THE funeral has taken place of Jean Lynette “Lynn” Burston (72), who taught at Vinters Girls’ School for more than 25 years. Lynn leaves her husband David, children Andy, Mark and Caro- line and granddaughter Lucy.


Gerry Beach GERALD “Gerry” Beach (77), most recently of New Romney, was well known locally from years of prominent involvement in golf and his 20 years as direc- tor of CDF, his computer sta- tionery firm. Gerry, and hiswife of 54 years,


Zena, lived in Allington from 1964 before moving to Teston, where they were known as sup- porters of the village church, be- fore moving to Bearsted. Gerry’s sporting skills allowed


him to master a number of dif- ferent disciplines. He was a youthful table tennis champion, a semi-professional footballer for Peterborough United and an excellent golfer who played locally and travelled to Luxembourg every year to take part in an invitation-only tournament. Daughter Julie said: “My father


was a gentleman through and through. He was a wonderful family man and had a long-last- ing and loving marriage to my mother.” His retirement home at New Romney allowed him to look over the 18th green at the Little- stone Golf Course. Gerry leaves his wife, daughter


Julie, son Jamie and grand- daughter Jemima.


Michael Alvin MICHAEL Alvin (64) of Cooling Close,Vinters Park, and formerly of Tonbridge Road, worked in construction at Maidstone Hos- pital. Originally from Cam- bridge, he had been in the Army before taking work locally. His wife, Catrina, said: “Michael was very sociable and got on well with people. He loved to be with his “two girls” as he called our dogs. “I’ll really miss him and so will lots of people he knew.”


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