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Conker champion 'Charlie' mourned
9:00am Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
A FORMER World conker champion, who had a brush with death on several occasions while fighting during the Second World War, is being mourned by family and friends.
Henry Charles Bray known as ‘Charlie’ served throughout North Africa, Sicily, Italy, during the battle of Cassino, into Rome and over to Greece before finishing in Austria during a long military career as a company sergeant major.
Against the odds the Chilbolton born man survived various explosions in encounters across Europe, being injured five times.
After his time in Europe, the lover of the outdoors began competing with conkers while residing in Northamptonshire and is regarded as one of the greatest of conker champions.
At 14 Charlie has decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, taking his first keepering job working on the Portal Estate at Laverstoke.
His work took him to Lord Ashburton’s estate at Itchen Stoke, the Rothschild Estate in Northamptonshire, Lord Rank’s estate at Micheldever and finally Cole Henley at Whitchurch.
He and his wife Judy resided in Whitchurch for 30 years and enjoyed 70 years of marriage having two daughters, Wendy and Penny.
Charlie originally retired at the age of 80 but was immediately back to work when he was asked to keep gardens by Major Jeremy Groves and this is how he spent his last 14 years.
Charles’ daughter Penny predeceased him, but he is survived by his wife Judy and daughter Wendy as well as many other members of his family.
A funeral service was held at St.
Peter’s Church on Wednesday, 10 July.
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