Death of Morris Spridgeon
Morris Spridgeon, village shopkeeper for more than 50 years and a stalwart of the Thorney Volunteer Fire Brigade, died on March 13 aged 71.
Most people born in Thorney will have happy memories of the name Spridgeon’s, visiting the shop for sweets as a treat after school, but as a volunteer fireman for 35 years Morris was always ready to dash from behind the counter when the alarm sounded.
In 1976, he was part of the crew that was first on the scene when a US Air Force Starlifter transport plane crashed on land between Thorney Dyke and the River Nene with the loss of 18 lives.
Morris was delivering newspapers and groceries, when he saw the plane come down and dashed straight to the fire station.
He was born in the village, at 12 Parkside (now Wisbech Road) where his father Arthur ran a grocery shop and newsagent’s from a store in their back garden.
Morris went to the Duke of Bedford School from the age of five and left at 15 (in those days, the school served as both primary and secondary). On leaving school, he joined his dad full time in the family business, helping run the store and also making deliveries to farms and farm workers around the village. Each morning, they’d drive to Peterborough Station to pick up newspapers.
The business moved to 2 Sandpit Road when the council built a new shop and offered it to Arthur.
Morris met his wife Pat when he was 17 and they married three years later. They have two children – Marcia and Paul, also six grandchildren (Jemma, Jodie, Abigail, Will, Tyler and Megan) and one great-grandchild, Elsie, who is 18 months. Morris and Pat celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last year.
When Morris’s mother and father retired, Pat and Morris moved to Sandpit Road and ran the shop until he retired six years ago. In his retirement, Morris helped his son Paul with his scaffolding business, when a head for heights and ladder-work from his fireman’s training came in handy.
Morris joined Thorney Fire Service in 1964 and went on to become station commander in charge. He loved the work and was proud to serve his local community, retiring after 35 years.
He was also a trustee of the Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society, which he joined when he was 16.
Apart from family, his hobbies included an allotment and photography. He was a keen photographer and took many pictures around the village, including images on display in the Heritage Museum and also Open Farm Sunday events at Park Farm. Some of his images appear in the book Thorney in Focus.
The funeral is to take place at Thorney Abbey on Thursday, March 26 at 2.30pm. Family flowers only please, but donations in memory of Morris are being taken for Keep Thorney Beating, the campaign to buy a defibrillator for the village. Donations can be sent to Trudy Spridgeon (9 Topham Crescent) or Marcia Brown (2a Tavistock Close).
Wife Pat said her husband was born and bred in Thorney, a village he loved and never ever dreamt of leaving. Everyone is welcome to join the family at the Bedford Hall after the funeral ceremony.