Favourite jazz for two of Farnham’s favourites: Jean and Ted Parratt

 

St Mark’s Church, Hale, was packed earlier this month for an evening of jazz music and memories of two of Farnham’s best-known residents – the late Jean and Ted Parratt.

Jean and Ted’s daughter Wendy Edwards put on Caravan Jazz in memory of her parents and the music which they would listen to in the early years of her life when the family was living in a series of caravans in Lincolnshire.

Wendy was joined by Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and vocalists Melissa Heathcote and Mike Twiddy to sing songs by jazz greats including Django Reinhardt, Gershwin, Glenn Miller, and Rodgers and Hart. In between, she showed pictures of her family and talked about the early years of her life between 1956 and 1962. Ted was away during the week on his National Service, so Jean was often alone caring for the three children in a small caravan in Lincolnshire.  Weekends were precious when Ted came home and played jazz on his guitar. These were what Jean later described as the ‘hungry years’ when there was little money and she often made potato soup with very few potatoes, but she also recalled them as among the happiest years in their lives.

The large audience was grouped around café-style tables, with refreshments, while they listened to the music which Jean and Ted had loved, and looked at family photos projected onto a screen.

Afterwards Wendy Edwards said: “A huge thank-you to everyone who helped in any way to make Caravan Jazz the great success it was. I thoroughly enjoyed singing with the talented Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and vocalists Melissa Heathcote and Mike Twiddy.  I could not have managed this event without the help of so many people who willingly gave their time, talents and money. Many thanks to you all.”

The event raised £900 for the Kitty Milroy Murals appeal to restore and protect a series of important murals painted a century ago.

Frances Whewell

 

Bluebird caravan 1957

 

Top: Jean and Ted Parratt in a field in 1956;
Above: The Bluebird Caravan in which the family lived in 1957 at Mere Road Caravan Site, Waddington, Lincolnshire.

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