Freda LE GRYS, 19232008 (aged 85 years)

Freda /LE GRYS/
Given names
Married name
Freda /SWANN/
Birth 1923 43 27
Birth of a sisterKathleen Maude Mary LE GRYS
1924 (aged 1 year)
Death of a paternal grandmotherLucy Eleanor BREWER
1924 (aged 1 year)
Birth of a sisterMahalah Le GRYS
1926 (aged 3 years)
Birth of a brotherFrederick William Brewer LE GRYS
July 16, 1932 (aged 9 years)
Death of a fatherFrederick Charles LE GRYS
1939 (aged 16 years)
Death of a motherRose HOBBS
1981 (aged 58 years)

Death of a husbandCyril SWANN
1994 (aged 71 years)

Death of a brotherFrederick William Brewer LE GRYS
February 3, 1998 (aged 75 years)
Death 2008 (aged 85 years)

Family with parents
Birth: 1880 27 24Thelveton, Norfolk, England
Death: 1939Colchester, Essex, England
Marriage Marriage1921Tendring, Essex, England
3 years
Birth: 1923 43 27Tendring, Essex, England
Death: 2008
2 years
younger sister
Birth: 1924 44 28Tendring, Essex, England
Death: 2009
3 years
younger sister
Birth: 1926 46 30Tendring, Essex, England
Death: 2011
7 years
younger brother
Birth: July 16, 1932 52 36Clacton on Sea, Tendring, Essex, England
Death: February 3, 1998Harlestone, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
Family with Cyril SWANN
Birth: 1923 43 27Tendring, Essex, England
Death: 2008

Just browsing your LeGrys geneaology site – some updates if you wish to include them. I am Christopher Howe, son of Elizabeth Howe, daughter of Freda LeGrys (born 1923 Tendring Essex). I married Jennifer Munro (1992), two sons Liam (1994) and Adam (1996). My brother, Michael, has a partner Lesley (since 1989?) they have two daughters Robyn (1994) and Lucy (1998).

Freda Le Grys Swann

The second of our village personalities first came to Wood Ditton in 1940 as Freda Le Grys. Having lost several of his farmworkers through call-up for military service, local farmer Lionel Long of Camois Hall badly needed help. Freda, who at 17 years of age had already joined The Woman's Land Army and gained experience of farm work, was drafted from her first job in her home county of Essex. She remembers getting off the bus at The Three Blackbirds and walking down the steep and stony track of Camois Hall Lane, wondering what she had let herself in for.

The wartime recruitment posters depicted the W.L.A. as enjoying a healthy, almost glamorous life but the reality of looking after a dairy herd involved mud and muck, hard work and long hours. Freda thrived on the work, tackling it with typical energy and enthusiasm and soon became a valued worker while managing to enjoy her situation. Her talents for organization and working with young people soon found an outlet as she took over the captaincy of the local Girl Guide company, a position made vacant by the vicar's wife, who had moved with her husband the Revd. Watson to another parish.

The arrival in the village of this lively and attractive young brunette did not go unnoticed by the young men and Freda had no shortage of would-be boy-friends. Life was to change though when she married local man Cyril Swann in 1942 and her first daughter Liz was born. Never one to follow the pattern of the typical village housewife whose place was in the home, she wanted more from life than just being a wife and mother. She excelled at tennis and badminton and later became a coach for West Suffolk Further Education College at Bury St Edmunds. Ten years after Liz was born, Freda's second daughter Mary arrived and as the girls grew up they attended the village school and joined the Girl Guide company, still run by mum. By the mid-1950's Freda had taken on public duties by becoming parish clerk for Stetchworth, having already carried out recording work for the village. Not content with this, as soon as Mary became old enough to accompany her mum to school, Freda embarked on a new career when she became a supply teacher, travelling around several West Suffolk and East Cambs villages. The authorities soon realized that here was a talent worth developing and they persuaded Freda to take a Mature Student Teacher Training Course at Saffron Walden, which meant much daily travelling. By the early sixties she had gone into full-time teaching, first at Kennett then at Wood Ditton school where she remained for 17 years until the school closed in 1983.

Just after this window closed, another opened as the East Cambs Council were considering a new community centre for Stetchworth and the surrounding villages. As long-serving parish clerk Freda played a key role in the founding of The Ellesmere Centre. She and four colleagues then put up the initial money to start a community shop at the centre, and with a post office added later it continues today to provide a valuable service to the local community. When the position of parish clerk for Wood Ditton fell vacant Freda, by then with many years experience, became a natural choice and she has held that position to this day.

Since Cyril died in 1994, Freda has not rested. Mention could be made of her reporting P.C. meetings and local affairs to The Newmarket Journal, presiding officer for the main part of the village at election time (with the polling station in Freda's caravan), past secretary and now treasurer of the Wood Ditton & Saxon Street branch of the Woman's Institute, Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, part-time work at the Ellesmere shop where she has a long term interest, secretary of the Stetchworth allotments association and giving lifts in her car to the less mobile in the village. So what time for hobbies? She loves walking her black Labrador Sam around the local woods and enjoys her Ditton Green garden. She often looks after Toby, one of her six great-grandchildren. Both daughters are married, Liz lives at Isleham and works in Cambridge. Mary is a headteacher in Sitges near Barcelona and this gives Freda a good excuse for a twice-yearly break in Spain.

Freda has lived in Wood Ditton for 61 years and it can be truly said that she has been an asset to the village and its locality from the time she arrived.