Former school groundsman is honoured with Freedom of Loddon award

Ray Lumley, chairman of Loddon Parish Council, presenting the Freedom of Loddon award to Cecil Nicho

Ray Lumley, chairman of Loddon Parish Council, presenting the Freedom of Loddon award to Cecil Nicholls. - Credit: Archant

A man who worked as a groundsman at three Loddon schools and formed a fishing club for youngsters has been given the Freedom of Loddon award.

Cecil Nicholls, 89, was presented with the title by Loddon Parish Council, for his good work within the community.

Mr Nicholls said the best years of his life were from 1975 to 1990 when he was working as a groundsman at two schools in Loddon, before taking on a third role at Loddon First School. He was given the job of planting all the trees and shrubs in the grounds.

His leisure time was spent as fishing bailiff for Hardley Floods, and his interaction with youngsters at the schools encouraged him to form a fishing club for children. Loddon Kingfishers was launched in January 1983, and continued for 12 years.

Mr Nicholls and his wife Sylvia spent many happy hours taking the children to local rivers for fishing matches, with trophies donated by Loddon Parish Council and other local businesses. And when Loddon’s Jubilee Hall was built, the couple raised £100 for bricks towards the project, through the launch of a “buy a brick” appeal. In 1991 they organised a jumble sale and collection for all the troops in the Gulf, and this enabled 37 parcels to be sent to forces around the world.

Mr Nicholls’ vast knowledge and good memory has helped many people to write about the history of Loddon, Chedgrave, Langley and Hardley, and he has himself written his earliest memories of the River Chet.

Mr Nicholls was presented with the award and a garden gift voucher by parish council chairman Ray Lumley at the council meeting on June 9.

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He said: “I just want to thank whoever nominated me and the parish council for finding me a suitable recipient of this award.”