• The Bridge Burford

Alfie Jewell RIP


I feel hardly qualified to write about this quintessential character of Burford because I have only lived here nine or so years.However he was such a special person who made an impression on me that I must record some thoughts.

He and I used to queue up for Jane Tunnell-Westmacott's superb sausage rolls when they came out piping hot from the oven at the butchers. Excellent! Whenever I went shopping in the town, or having met him in the midst of one of our walks Alfie was a star with whom I was delighted to chat. He knew all about the Burford of yesteryear and would regale me with tales about his early childhood in Fulbrook and Burford, chance encounters with one of the Mitfords, escapades during the war or details of a house or barn (long forgotten by others) which someone was newly re-furbishing. He had a mischievous smile and twinkling eyes and was always thrilled when he had a good listener who was entertained by his sharp wit, and knowledge of the deep history of this wonderful town. Alfie was very proud of his splendid collection of old postcards of Burford. I wonder if we will be privileged to see these unique specimens one day? It would make a fitting memorial for him.

You could describe him as "ordinary", but how misplaced and misjudged that word is for the simple reason that this "ordinary" facade hid an extraordinary quality whose reminiscences were pure gold for the local historian. He reminds me of "Old Mont", aka Montague Abbott, whose life features in the book "Lifting The Latch" by Sheila Stewart. Mont was yet another gem of an "ordinary" person who happened to live in the Cotswolds in Enstone.

Our dear Alfie passed away in April, not long after his beloved wife Sylvia who he looked after so lovingly at the end of her life. So, very thankfully, he will be together again with his dear love. I shall miss conversations with Alfie.

Angela Tancock