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1932: Local memories at Golden Wedding

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 06 September 1932


Not only in Cuckfield, but far beyond, the news will be received with pleasurable interest that yesterday (Monday) Mr and Mrs. GT Bunting, of Richmond Villa, Cuckfield, celebrated their golden wedding. Mr. Bunting was born at Cuckfield 77 years ago. and his wife, who is 73, is a native of West Cowes, Isle of Wight, where their marriage was solemnised at St. Mary's Church, by Canon Barker, on September 3th, 1882.

It was nearly 100 years ago that Mr Bunting’s father (Thomas Bunting) settled at Cuckfield, and for forty years he carried on business as a baker and confectioner in South Street. It was here that Mr. George Bunting was born. He attended a private school for several years near the Star Hotel, Haywards Heath, and later became one of the first pupils of the Brighton Grammar School when it was opened on the Grand Parade. He was still a pupil when was transferred to Buckingham Road. Before reaching his teens George developed a fondness for music, and at the age of seven he received tuition in pianoforte playing from Miss Mitchell, whose father was Postmaster.

The post office was then situated opposite Attrees, in the High Street. Miss Mitchell eventually became the wife of Mr Edward Anscombe, a later Postmaster. When eight years old George joined the Parish Church Choir, of which he Is still a member. On leaving school he assisted his father, and when the latter retired about 54 years ago, the son carried on the business for another forty years, retiring at the end of the Great War.

Mr and Mrs T. Bunting 1932 photographed by Eva Pannell

Mr. Bunting is a very merry soul, and he is right proud of the fact that has lived in Cuckfield all his life. To a representative of The Mid-Sussex Times he said that the longest distance he had travelled from home was to the Isle of Wight—to get married!

In conjunction with Mr. Wyndham Burrell, whose father was Sir Walter Burrell, of Ockenden, Mr. Bunting started, in 1874, the first Cuckfield Football Club, and both he and Mr. Reuben Harris were members of the team. The ground was at Ockenden, and the principal opponents were College teams. For nearly forty years Mr. Bunting was a member of Sir Walter Burrell’s private band, and, later, the Town Band, which made its last appearance a Bonfire Night procession some thirty years ago. In the jollifications Mr. Bunting lost his cornet, and this was found a year later in a room at the old Talbot Hotel.

Richmond Villa in 1920

For twenty-six years Mr. Bunting was associated with the old Volunteers (for some time as a bugler), and he holds the Queen Victoria medal for long service.

All his life he has been devoted to cricket. At the age of fourteen he first played for the Cuckfield Club, and for many years he served on the Committee.

When the late Archdeacon Mount, the then Vicar, inaugurated the former Men's Club in South Street, Mr. Bunting became a member of the Committee, whilst he had also served on the Committees of former Athletic Clubs and competed in races.

For nine years he was organist at Bolney Parish Church, and has acted as deputy organist at Cuckfield, Balcombe, Staplefield and Twineham.

He has always been in demand locally as pianoforte accompanist and singer of humorous songs, and at no gathering to-dav does he receive heartier welcome than at the school-children’s annual Christmas treat in the Queen’s Hall. The youngsters know the choruses that their fathers and grandfathers sang with Mr. Bunting in the happy days gone by.

On May 11th, 1880, Sir Walter Burrell initiated Mr. Bunting into the Ockenden Lodge of Freemasons, of which he has been Tyler for 52 years. Several years ago he was given Provincial Grand honours in recognition of his long service, and when in May, 1930, he completed fifty years’ membership of the Lodge, his colleagues presented him with an illuminated address and a cheque for a handsome sum.

For nearly forty years Mr. Bunting has been a "Buff,” and is a Knight of the Order.

One of his earliest recollections of his birthplace was a disastrous fire which destroyed the south side of Cuckfield Park House about seventy years ago. It occurred on a Sunday afternoon, and George, who was then little more than a toddler, was taken to see the fire.

Men were sent out on horseback to obtain help, and eventually a number of workmen who were engaged on building the Mental Hospital at Haywards Heath arrived with pails and. by forming a chain from the lake, got the outbreak under control.

When Lefroy appeared before the Magistrates at “The Talbot” on the charge of murdering Mr. Gold in Balcombe Tunnel, Mr. Bunting was present at the hearing. He remembers seeing Lefroy make a sketch on his shirt cuff of the Chairman, Mr. Norman, of Handcross.

Mr. Bunting also attended services in St. Wilfrid’s Schools before the Parish Church was built. In those days there was no Church Road, but merely a quagmire which finished at a builder's yard. George was also present at the opening of St. Wilfrid’s Church, which he remembers by the fact that was given sixpence to put in the offertory bag. “It did not get there because the collector never came near enough!”

Mr. Bunting’s mother was a Miss Kennard, grand daughter of Mr. Tom Kennard, who at one time resided at Mill House, Haywards Heath, and owned land in the district, including the site of the present Recreation Ground.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunting have two daughters living. One is Mrs. T. Taylor, of Defford, near Worcester, and the other - Miss Elizabeth Bunting - is Head Mistress of St. Andrew's School, Portslade. Right through their lives Mr. and Mrs. Bunting have ever kept their faces towards the sun, and it is their kindly, unassuming bearing, their readiness to help others, that have won for them the warm regard of their fellow residents in Cuckfield.


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