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Norman Edyvean-Walker

David Lindop

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At the time of the 1891 census, three years before his birth,Norman’s family lived at Dover Lodge, Bilton Road, Rugby. He had two elder brothers, Geoffrey born in Argentina and Sydney in Cornwall. Norman’s father, Henry, was a Portland Cement Manufacturer born in Bombay. His mother, Katherine hailed from Rugby. Norman Edyvean-Walker, himself was born in Rugby on July 13th 1894. By the time of the 1901 census the Edyvean-Walkers had added two more children,Cicely and Horace. They now lived at 75 Addison Road, Kensington, London and had four servants.

Norman had moved away from Rugby with his parents and was educated at Tonbridge School, before returning to Rugby to begin his legal career, articled to his uncle, Mr CH Fuller, in 1913.Upon the outbreak of The First World War, he enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers and, commissioned in 1915, was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He was to become the Warwickshire patron of the British Legion.

Between the wars, Norman returned to Rugby to pursue his legal career. He became a senior partner at Fredk Fuller and served as an independent Rugby Borough Councillor from 1932-1938. He married Stella and became the father of one son, Desmond, and two daughters Cynthia and Stephanie. Stephanie Edyvean Walker-Rolfe is now his only surviving daughter. In later life he had three grandchildren, one of whom, Stephanie's daughter, Wendy Rolfe- Dunham has recently been in touch with us. At the outbreak of The Second World War he joined the RAF and became a Wing Commander. Unfortunately a bout of pneumonia cut short his active service and he had to be content with a mainly administrative role, to which he was very well suited by profession. After the war he took a keen interest in the rehabilitation of former prisoners of war and undertook charitable work on their behalf.

Norman was a proud Rugbeian, never more so than when made an honorary freeman of the town in 1969. He was a most prominent local townsman who forsook his pre-war political interests in favour of voluntary and charitable service to the people of Warwickshire and Rugby. He became one of a number of Deputy Lord Lieutenants of Warwickshire, appointed on 16th July 1952 by the then Lord Lieutenant, The Rt Hon Lord Willoughby de Broke. He remained a Deputy LL until his death on 1st January 1974.

Norman and Stella lived at Little Wood, an Elizabethan style mansion on the Rugby- Dunchurch border and built in the early 1930s. They were dedicated gardeners and regularly opened their gardens to visitors. Stella was a local amateur artist and many of her paintings were composed at Little Wood. This interest led the Edyvean-Walkers to become prime movers in establishing the
‘Best Kept Village in Warwickshire’ competition, which began in Rugby.

In 1957 the then Evening Mail did a piece on Stella. She had been Deputy Centre Leader for the WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service) and was credited with organising Rugby’s Meals on Wheels Service.

The Edyvean-Walkers were very closely associated with the ‘League of Friends of Rugby Hospital’. Prior to the creation of the NHS Stella had been Treasurer of ‘The Linen League of St.Cross’ Norman served as Chairman of the Coventry Hospital Management Group form 1961-67. A library at St Cross Hospital bears their name. The photograph on this website features Stella and Norman just after she had raised £1,200 when President of the League of Friends, through the sale of some of her paintings.

Norman was a former president of the Rugby Rotary Club and similarly of the Warwickshire Law Society. He had, in the tradition of his father’s vocation, been a founder Director of Rugby Portland Cement. It was in 1966 that he made the gift to allow young people in Warwickshire to travel through the award of Annual Travelling Scholarships. He was a keen violinist and president of the Rugby Musical Union.

On 14 January 1974, 600 people attended his memorial service at St Andrew’s Parish Church. The Bishop of Coventry read the lesson and the funeral address was read by Canon A Partridge. Norman’s memory lives on through his gifts and benefactions. Edyvean Close in Bilton bears his name. Fredk Fuller, now Fullers Solicitors of Albert St continues its involvement with the Travelling Scholarships. There is a sheltered housing complex in Nuneaton and the Library at St Cross. He was a truly remarkable Rugbeian.