Obituary James Henry Pye 1922-2013
Jim ( James Henry Pye ) was the first born son of Bill ( William Henry Pye ) and his new wife Nellie ( nee Chew ) was born at Nab Side Farm Billington on 13th of November 1922, later joined by his brother Clifford and sister Nellie who died at the age of 4 of whooping cough ( because the doctor couldn’t be bothered to walk up the field in the snow because he knew they couldn’t afford to pay the bill ). His childhood must have been hard as farming was on hard times in the 1930s when Jim attended Whalley school, they said he could pass the exams but he couldn’t afford to go to grammar school. As a teenager he found work on the local farms up to the war, by which time he was playing the piano by ear in the Dog Inn and off to the pictures with his mates.
He tried to dodge the draft by claiming to be an essential farm worker as long as he could but was called up in early 1942, basic training a Barrow print works then into the Royal Artillery and gunnery training at Beccles in East Anglia. Then they shipped his regiment out to Egypt around the Cape of Good Hope as reinforcements in the fight against Rommel but was not needed and therefore his regiment went up into Iraq then across to Syria for training for artillery on mules for the Italian campaign. In Syria he got sick enough to go into hospital ( they thought he was going to die) and so he was not actually sent to Italy. Instead they posted him to Libya looking after telegraph wires with Royal Signals until the war was over. He got early release as a farm worker in 1946 and came back to originally work on the home farm but he got a job with Bill Pennington living in at Lawson House Farm Sawley, where he stayed working until Bill Pennington moved down to Poole in 1963. Jim was a re-founding member of Sawley Reading Room Snooker Club located in the former chapel Long Building opposite the school and after the first year as secretary, a post he held for 50 odd years, and during which time he oversaw the successful move into the new building behind the school when the Long Building was developed into executive housing.
In the meantime Jim met his wife Barbara Hudson and moved into the Toll Bar Chatburn shop in 1958 when they got married, they struggled a bit having a baby but ( Gordon ) popped out in 1961. Jim used to take the ice cream van to Downham at the weekend whatever the weather, one Saturday he only sold 3 cornets to the regular people he waited all day for because he knew they were likely to turn up and he didn’t want to disappoint them. 1963 saw a move to work for Frank Capstick at Crow Trees Farm Chatburn, which lasted until they sold the milk round, when he moved to Frankland’s working as a builders labourer which he had to leave when he had a slight heart attack. He got better and then got a job labouring in Chatburn Mill where he stayed until early retirement in 1986 just after the move further up Downham Road. Of course in between this he also worked in the shop and from the 1970s it was often after 9pm at night when he got back from cash and carry.
When granny Hudson was still fit we used to go on family holidays during the wakes weeks when the shop was quiet, a favourite destination was Bournemouth and time with his old boss Bill Pennington. Running the shop was a full time job but Gordon didn’t miss out as by then he was riding about in wagons during the school holidays, and in any case Jim and Barbara decided to make up for it when they retired. Unfortunately by 1990 Barbara went completely blind, so Jim used to describe everything they saw on their travels they had been all over the world by the end of 1994 when Barbara died. Jim continued the holidays after her death and he was always on the lookout for a bargain. like going to Croatia when the Yugoslav war was on, He wasn’t paying single room supplement either, would share with anyone or go with his best friend Colin Wiseman, he kept on going on holiday regularly until they wouldn’t insure him anymore, at least at reasonable cost.
Jim’s one eye ( blind in one eye from birth ) was good, and he was still competently driving up to the end of October 2012, out 2 nights a week playing snooker at Sawley, then dominoes Pendle Club Friday night and alternately Gisburn Rimmington Tosside and Slaidburn on Saturdays Pendle Club extra in a 5 week month, West Bradford and Bolton-by-Bowland two Wednesdays a month and even being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2009 it didn’t stop him despite 6 monthly visits to hospital for a few days for minor surgical treatment. A brisk walk down to the post office and back up the hill everyday except Sunday to buy a copy of the Daily Mail and the ( plus Clitheroe Advertiser on Thursdays) kept him fit, he used to spend hours reading the papers. He was a keen fan of Countdown ( especially the maths bit ) and also kept up with Emmerdale and Coronation Street, but snooker on TV was was his favourite. It sort of kept him going over Christmas 2012 when he was getting really bad on his legs. even though he still managed to attend the church every Sunday’s ( and to visit Barbara’s grave ) right up until a month before his death when he was admitted to Blackburn Royal Hospital.where he died after 3 weeks delirium.
It could be said that Jim was lucky in his life especially going through WW2 without firing a shot in anger, it took him time to find a wife but he got a good one and he gave his son a good upbringing. On balance a successful man despite technically being a lowly labourer all his working life, although you would be hard pressed to find a better corner shopkeeper, businessman and finance manager than him !