Teddy Faure Walker: Tributes to farmer, vicar, soldier and friend
PUBLISHED: 08:24 02 August 2018
The family of a Sandon farmer – who became county vice lord lieutenant, high Sheriff, North Herts District councillor and a Stevenage vicar – have spoken about his eventful life following his death aged 71.
Teddy Faure Walker was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 13 years ago and two years ago he learned that he had cancer – and his family said he “bore his ill health with indifference and humour, supported by wife Louise at his side 24 hours a day”.
He was the youngest child of Billy and Betty Faure Walker, who moved to Sandon Bury shortly after he was born. The land had been in Teddy’s mother’s family – the Fordhams – since the 14th Century.
Son Robert said: “He was youngest brother to Harry and Janie, and was often reprimanded for eating the ice off the puddles in the pig pen, for his fascination with matches and munitions left behind by the Home Guard and for ‘helpfully’ pouring water into the petrol tank of the family car.
“It was at this time that he got his gold teeth when he blew the originals out with a toy gun! He said some of his earliest memories were of waiting at the farm gate for the cart horses to return from working in the fields. If he was lucky, he would be lifted onto a horse for a ride to the stable.”
Teddy went to Sandon School from the age of five, and then when he was older had an early career in the army with the Coldstream Guards, Teddy completed tours of duty in Aden, Yemen, Germany, twice in Northern Ireland during the troubles and in Cyprus.
He was called back to help on Sandon Bury Farm in 1973 and he and Louise moved to Roe Green House in 1975.
Teddy and Louise had three children – Mark born soon after they moved to Sandon, Kate followed 18 months later and Robert in 1981. Teddy particularly enjoyed working on the farm at harvest time when the family would join him for picnics in the farmyard or in the harvest field.
With Teddy in control, Sandon Bury Farm became one of the first in the country to regularly produce four tons of wheat per acre. This didn’t go unnoticed and he was invited to become chairman of the Boxworth Farm Advisory Committee as well as being chairman of Royston NFU.
Alongside farming, Teddy took on other volunteer roles in the county. In 1985 he became a deputy lieutenant then, later, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. In 2000, he became High Sheriff of Hertfordshire and for eight years he served as an independent councillor on North Herts District Council. He was particularly interested in helping young people and became chairman of the Hertfordshire Association of Youth Clubs, honorary Colonel of the Hertfordshire Army Cadet Force and served on the senate of the University of Hertfordshire.
Robert said: “In 2001, Teddy trained as a vicar and served the parish of Pin Green in Stevenage. Initially disappointed that he would not be able to practice his ministry in Sandon, he latterly described it as a ‘wonderful experience’. He reflected in his memoirs on how his parishioners taught him so much and bought him huge fulfillment.”
Having already carried out restoration projects on Sandon Bury and the Black Barn, Teddy and Louise were not put off by the extensive works required to repair Bear House in Ashwell when they started looking for somewhere to retire to.
Teddy’s last 10 days were spent in their new house, drinking cups of tea with family and friends in the garden as the workmen finished off their work and provided him with support and companionship.
Robert said: “His family were fortunate to be able to spend time with him over the last few years and Teddy often reflected on the importance of love, writing in his memoirs, ‘It is the love that one finds in families and close knit communities that is important and something to treasure’.”
As well as his wife and children, Teddy is survived by grandchildren George, Alfie, Clemmie, Indrani, Lucas and Aarav.
His legacy is not just in the woods, fields and ancient buildings of Sandon but in the hearts of so many who have expressed their love in hundreds of letters since his death on June 10.
A memorial service for Teddy will be held at Sandon’s All Saints Church on September 6, at 2.30pm.