Cyril Roden & Edith Roden

Cyril Roden - 1906-1992 Edith Roden - 1907-1996

Cyril Roden, Churchwarden at St John’s Lemsford for 26 years (1965 - 1991)

In 1933, when newlyweds Cyril and Edith Roden moved into 32 Brocket Road, fields surrounded the few houses along this country road and New Road was just a dirt track.

Cyril, one of eight children, was born into a railway family in West Deeping, Lincolnshire on 5th April 1906. On his 15th birthday, he started work as an office boy at Stamford Station on the Great Northern Railway. Eventually, as a railway clerk, he was moved to Harpenden Station, where he met Edith Emily Willson, the daughter of Harpenden Stationmaster, Charles and his wife Minnie Willson. By 1932, Cyril was booking office clerk at Welwyn Garden City station – then a small wooden office with a platform on the Luton branch line. This was near to where the Waitrose car park now stands. Edith was born in Luton on 9th Nov 1907 and was brought up at Wheathampstead Station House. She studied at Luton Girls High School, and learnt German, later becoming a bi-lingual secretary at a German company in Luton.

Cyril and Edith became regular worshippers at St John’s Church, Lemsford, and in 1939, they became parents to twin boys. In 1939, Cyril joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) as an orderly and served in India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), becoming a Staff Sergeant. After the war, Cyril moved to an office job at Kings Cross and later became a Member of the Institute of Transport. During this time, he supported Lemsford Scouts (4th Hatfield Troop) and became their treasurer. Edith became a volunteer with the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS), delivering “meals on wheels.”

Cyril and Edith were increasingly involved with the church and put much effort into helping at the fete every year. Cyril was elected to the church PCC and Edith later joined him. In 1965, Cyril became Vicar’s Warden, a post he held for 26 years. During this period, Cyril took a great interest in the building of the church annexe.

Edith became Secretary to the PCC as well as editor of the Parish Magazine, and also wrote articles for local newspapers and some national women’s magazines. Later, she became a member of Lemsford Women’s Institute and enjoyed listening to speakers from all walks of life and admiring the many creative skills of the other members.

In the early 1970s, Cyril was involved in installing bells in the St Johns church tower, under the guidance of enthusiast Geoff Dodds. On one occasion, when the group collected a bell from an old church at Hatford, near Faringdon, in Berkshire, he was seen hanging backwards over a 90ft drop to reach some fixing bolts. He was 70 years old at the time!

Cyril was a keen gardener, handyman and angler. Across the road from his home he tended an allotment which kept family and friends supplied with vegetables. In his home garden, he kept chickens. The rooster regularly acted as an early alarm call to his neighbours!

He enjoyed early morning fishing trips to Stanborough Lakes, Tewin and fishing at West Deeping whilst visiting his sister, Eva.After Cyril died in 1992, Edith continued to live at the marital home until her death in 1996. Both are buried, in their chosen plot, in St John’s churchyard close the main entrance to the church.