There is a framed photograph hanging in the village hall of a tough-as-leather old man hoeing his vegetable garden, Fred Creasy. “Who was Fred Creasy?” I heard someone ask. I was surprised, but shouldn’t have been. Time passes and people pass. Houses are sold and new villagers arrive. Fred and Elsie Creasy lived at East Cottage, now home to Paul and Kerry, where Fred retired from Barnes Garage, kept the best vegetable garden in the village, winning prizes every year at the Flower Show, and vying with Peter Saunders for the much coveted Harding Cup.
He was voted Chairman and then President of the Gardening Club so you can imagine how awful it was when bullocks from Pebsham broke into Fred’s garden. Animals belonging to Hole Farm! We were quickly alerted …but it was already too late, Fred’s immaculate garden looked like a World War I battlefield. I won’t forget the look of pained shock on Fred’s face. Undaunted Fred restored his garden – some insurance money helped – and we were still friends.
Retirement for Fred meant more gardening including one day a week for my mother, Genissa Harding at Hole Farm. Days and hours were reduced as both my mother and Fred got older. His last job was to expertly prune and fertilise by hand the two peach trees in the Hole Farm greenhouse. After Fred died, the peach trees died.
Fred was born and brought up at Lemons Farm, when there was a Lemons Farm – and there is again, a new house at Lemons Farm for Andy and Janet Holt. From Lemons, Fred walked to school by the footpath through Hole Farm and Attwood to the village.
Later, one of Fred’s first jobs meant bicycling every morning from Bodle Street to Seaford. Fred was a tough man. Nick Richards can fill you in on Fred’s war service. Fred also worked for Nick Richard’s father Colonel ‘Jim’ Richards.
Elsie Creasy was borne Elsie Roberts at Longview Cottage. Her parents ran the village shop at the Old Stores as well as doing some backyard farming. One of their enterprises was chicken cramming. The fat chickens – Billy Bunters – would be collected from the various farms to be sent to London by special train from Heathfield station. Elsie, like Fred, also worked several days a week at Hole Farm then once a week for Charles’s mother who would collect her from East Cottage and bring her back to Hole Farm to spend the afternoon polishing the silver.
When Fred was 80 plus, he would be pruning the tallest Bramley apple tree at Hole Farm, on the tallest ladder, with Margaret holding it!
By Charles Harding