Bill GreenAway Remembered by Derek Wheeler

Bill died aged 81 on 13th December 2003. In his last year following his operation and subsequent infection he was in poor health. He came to Hinckley in 1964 with wife Gwen, children Helen and Neil. When Gloster Aircraft was absorbed by Armstrong Whitworth in Coventry and this old chap ended up at the desk next to mine, well I was in my twenties and he was 15 years my senior! He was a strange fellow, full as he would often say of “useless knowledge” who was not easy to get to know.

However for some reason a friendship blossomed which was to continue throughout his life. Four of us played bridge together every Thursday evening visiting each other’s house once each month where the standard of play would deteriorate as the home brew took its toll. Bill and I also played ten pin bowls together in a league in Coventry on another evening and when Tony Biggs and I became committed to reforming Burbage Allotment and Gardening Association, Bill, also a keen gardener with a large garden behind his house in Glen Bank, soon joined the fray. He had no interest in flowers, Fortunately Gwen was an avid shrub and flower gardener so a balance of interest prevailed in the Greenaway household.

Bill became chairman of the Association in the mid 1970s and he, Owen Woodward and myself helped to form the Leicestershire branch of the National Society of Leisure Gardeners whose aim was look after the interests of allotment holders and gardeners in this area. I lost my enthusiasm after a few years but Bill became secretary of the branch remained in the post for over 20 years. His service was recognised when he was made Honorary Life President at the societies AGM at the Banqueting suite of Birmingham Council House on 7th June 2003. He probably would have secretly been proud to be recognised but would have hated all the fuss.

In our own Association he presided over the show as it moved from the old Conservative hut in Grove Road, through a period in the Church Hall, both venues have now been demolished, to the superior location of Hasting High School. He was not a show exhibitor but was always there to help in any capacity and delighted in assisting the wine judge in tasting and selecting the prize winners. The family also joined in with great enthusiasm working behind the scene on show day lubricating the larynx of both exhibitors and visitors. He pioneered the establishment of the Trading post at Woodbank which, involved detailed negotiation with the Parish Council, raising money through an appeal to members to supplement our Building fund to meet £12000 required for the building. He also supervised the planning and building programme with his quiet, commonsense approach to the crises that occurred. It was this approach that made him such a successful chairman and committee member and became charged with emotion, particularly if some member felt unrecognised for significant contribution. Bill could usually defuse the situation by smoothing the ruffled feathers. We changed the name of the club under his leadership and we needed a new constitution. His poor health prevented him taking an active part in its formulation, would he have approved of the final outcome ,probably.

WE who had the pleasure of serving him during his tenure will miss him with great affection It is fittings that our store is named after him ,and soon we will put a the brass Plaque, which he opposed in principle when it was brought up in committee meeting, as a permanent memory of his substantial contribution to the Burbage Club.
Taken from a newsletter at the time -Editor