Trib­utes to Mil­i­tary Cross world war hero

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - ALEX HIB­BERT

TRIB­UTES have been paid to a Sec­ond World War hero who self­lessly put his life in dan­ger to res­cue his sur­rounded com­rades.

Colonel Ge­of­frey Spar­row’s Ri­fle Brigade pla­toon came un­der fire while fight­ing near the Ital­ian vil­lage of Faella in 1944.

The dar­ing in­fantry­man went be­hind en­emy lines and neu­tralised a slew of deadly booby traps. Alone and un­der fire, he then bravely de­fused yet more ex­plo­sives to res­cue a badly-wounded fel­low ser­vice­man.

Col Spar­row, who died peace­fully at his home in Birtles aged 91, was awarded the Mil­i­tary Cross for his feat.

Af­ter the war he went on to be a Deputy Lieu­tenant of Cheshire in 1972 and a High Sher­iff of Cheshire in 1969.

Col Spar­row, who was ed­u­cated at Eton and grew up at the Hall in Birtles, is sur­vived by his wife Bets, his three sons – Ran­dle, Piers and Justin – and two grand­chil­dren.

Bets, who lives in Birtles, said: “He was a real English gen­tle­men of the high­est or­der. He was out­stand­ingly kind and cour­te­ous. Many have said to me that they thought he was the loveli­est gen­tle­men in the county. He was very self ef­fac­ing, he never pushed him­self for­ward and was gra­cious and ap­pre­cia­tive. He loved Birtles, Cheshire and his church.”

Af­ter the war Col Spar­row went on to work at his fam­ily’s firm Spar­row Hard­wick, which was in the cot­ton trade.

In later life he took a very keen in­ter­est in com­mu­nity groups, in­clud­ing the Cheshire Yeo­manry, be­com­ing hon­orary colonel, the Campaign to Pro­tect Ru­ral Eng­land and the YMCA.

Bets added: “He was very in­ter­ested in pre­serv­ing the green belt and in par­tic­u­lar hedges and would campaign for peo­ple not to be able to dig them up. He loved Cheshire and St Cather­ine Church in Birtles. He also was a great gar­dener, he grew many dif­fer­ent veg­eta­bles, es­pe­cially pota­toes, and all sorts of flow­ers and fauna. He was a coun­try man through and through, and also en­joyed fish­ing, shoot­ing and sports.”

Alex Wil­bra­ham, a close come and en­joy it with us.” The gar­den can be ac­cessed through fields so visi­tors mush con­tact the cou­ple be­fore at­tend­ing.

The gar­den is open to­day (Wed­nes­day) at 7pm and on Fri­day, Au­gust 22, at 6.30pm.

Visi­tors should meet op­po­site the Hollin Hall Ho­tel in Ker­ridge.

Email pandg@uw­club. friend of Col Spar­row, also paid trib­ute to him.

He said: “Ge­of­frey was a man who put other peo­ple first. For him this was no plat­i­tude: it meant clear­ing a path through a mine­field un­der fire so his sol­diers could cross and re cross­ing it again with wounded; it meant go­ing for years with­out a pay rise be­cause, as MD of the fam­ily firm, he wanted his work­ers to keep their jobs.

“The val­ues Ge­of­frey be­lieved in, and prac­tised, stemmed from a deep love of his coun­try and his coun­try­men – and it showed. Ge­of­frey was also fair and knew how to lis­ten.

“He not only fought for his coun­try on the bat­tle­fields of Italy but, for the rest of his life, fought on to pro­tect all he be­lieved was most pre­cious in it.

“They should have made more Ge­of­freys – we have lost the only one.”

A ser­vice of cel­e­bra­tion to com­mem­o­rate Col Spar­row’s life will take place at 2pm on Fri­day, Septem­ber 26, at St Mary’s church, Nether Alder­ley. Do­na­tions in his name may be made to CPRE and The Cheshire Yeo­manry. For more in­for­ma­tion, call 01625 433853. net or phone 01625 572445 to at­tend. En­try costs £3 and there is tea/ cof­fee for £1, cake £1.50 and wine £2. ●» OR­GAN­IS­ERS of the Bolling­ton 10k run are call­ing for more peo­ple to take part.

So far the event on Au­gust 24 will in­volve 230 run­ners.

But there is space for up to 600.

The run will set off from the leisure cen­tre and head north to­wards Pott Shrigley. It will then go west along Brook­ledge Lane and south Mid­dle­wood Way to the fin­ish at the leisure cen­tre.

The run is or­gan­ised by Bolling­ton Health and Leisure, a not for profit gym. To take part in the run you can sign up on the day at 9am.

●» Col Ge­of­frey Spar­row had a keen in­ter­est in com­mu­nity groups and, in­set, he served on the Ri­fle Brigade pla­toon in the Sec­ond World War

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.