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Tribute to a Holt man William Royston ‘Roy’ Baston – 01.12.28 – 01.10.14

Roy with his birthday cake.

Roy with his birthday cake.

William Baston, born and raised in Holt, has sadly passed away.

He attended the village school in the building that is now the United Reform Church Hall. One of his former classmates was none other than Vidal Sassoon who was evacuated to Holt during the war.

During the war years Roy was keen to help keep the town and villages safe as an ARP messenger boy. Aged just 14 he would cycle from Holt to Trowbridge Town Hall, where he would sleep in the cells, then if a message needed delivering to one of the villages he would jump on his bike and cycle as fast as possible to get it there.

But Roy wanted to do more so he faked his age and joined the Navy. He first served on the Crown Colony Class Light Cruiser HMS Gambia. Roy jumped ship in Hong Kong to join the Colossus Class Aircraft Carrier HMS Glory that brought him home to Blighty. But, Roy couldn’t settle on dry land so went back to sea on the Cunard Liner Aquitania.

His naval career was cut short when his father had an accident and Roy was needed to support the family at home, as his elder brother Jack was serving with the Army in Germany and could not get back. From then on Roy dabbled in many varied careers including milkman, lorry driver – driving one of Airsprung’s lorries with a trailer when they only had a fleet of three, barman and tanner at J & T Beaven, from where he retired in 1993 after 35 years’ service.

Whilst at Beavens he worked with his grandson Lee, making four generations that had worked there.

Roy married Dorothy May Parr (Dot) on Easter Saturday 1951 at St James Church, Trowbridge. They went on to have four daughters.

Roy in his naval uniform.

Roy in his naval uniform.

Roy was an active member of the community for most of his life, until he  had a series of small strokes in the early 2000s. He drove carnival floats, acted as Santa, collected Holt’s Littlewoods football pools, cut the grass of the village green and helped to establish the Holt Bowling Club after some years playing for Bradford On Avon.

During the 1980s Roy was captain and secretary on numerous occasions and still visited the club until he was admitted to hospital on the 9th September with pneumonia. Dot and Roy were married for 63 years and were very proud of their Diamond Anniversary card from the Queen. They celebrated anniversaries and birthdays with the girls and got the whole family together when they could, the last time was in August at Roy’s beloved Bowling Club.

Roy is survived by wife Dot, daughters Elizabeth, Lynda, Hilary and Debbie and son-in-laws Steven, Christopher, Kevin and Andrew. There are also 10 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. The Baston name continues through Lee and his boys.

The funeral has already taken place. Donations can be made to C.S. Bowyer, Bradford on Avon to the Naval Services Benevolent Fund or to the Stroke Association, or via www. justgiving.com/roybaston