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Elwyn Guyse "Guy" Sparke
05 December 1917 - 09 February 2015
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Elwyn Guyse Sparke who passed away peacefully on 9 February 2015
Condolences  (5 of 8)
John Arpel (Family)
Uncle Guy was the last of his generation and a tough cookie! For example, regularly bathing in Budleigh's freezing waters. He lived an exciting, if sometimes challenging life, creating from nothing a viable farm in Kenya, to having to leave it all and start over again in the UK with a wife and three kids. I pay tribute to him, and offer condolences to Stephen, Brian, Philip and their families.
stephen sparke (Family)
My Parents Legacy

I wasn't raised in a mansion
Or fed with a silver spoon
I wasn't brought up to think money is everything
I wasn't raised to live out my parents dream
But to proudly dream my own
I wasn’t raised to walk the popular path
But to strongly pave my own
I wasn't raised with material things
But something great indeed
I was raised with love
And love is all I need
Juliet Parry (Family)
South London
My childhood memories of staying with Auntie Jean and Uncle Guy in Budleigh are some of the strongest memories I possess. I think they will stay with me always. I am so sorry that Hugh and I will be unable to be with you on the 27th. Our profound condolences to all the family.
Mike Williams (Family)
South Africa
What a remarkable, kindly man my beloved uncle was, the only one ever to have persuaded me to play tennis in the cold of an English winter, during a Christmas visit to my Mother in the late 90s - it turned out to be a wonderful game with him & two of his tennis buddies, never to be forgotten!

May you rest is peace dear Guy, you will be lovingly remembered for the fine uncle & human being you were!

Fondest love

Katrisse Wilson (Family)
Brisbane, Australia
I visited Great Uncle Guy and Auntie Jean in 1998 with my father, Brian Arpel. They were so kind to me and made me feel very welcome.
My love, and sincere condolences to Uncle Steven, Uncle Brian and Uncle Phillip and all their families. Our thoughts are with them all at this sad time.
Katrisse and the Wilson family
Life Stories  (5 of 5)
Brian Arpel (Family)
I know his boys will know many more stories about my uncle than I, however, one of my favourites is one that occurred on one of my many summer holidays in Devon with my grandparents, Nonie and Nono

Uncle Guy, as all who knew him will remember, had a very ready wit, and was also very fond of making puns, some great, some truly awful, but always very clever and very quick!

At the time of this story, he and my grandfather were in business together owning and operating Edgcomes bakery, next to what used to be the Rolle Hotel.

The business had recently invested in a new Swiss infrared oven for the bakery, and Uncle Guy's forearms are covered in quite large burn scars from the oven that occurred when he was reaching in to take the hot bread etc out.

We were all together in my Grandmother's kitchen, eating Sunday roast, and, noticing these ‘marks’, I asked my uncle what they were, and when he explained the matter, I asked why he didn’t wear long gloves, suggesting a material similar to asbestos or something.

Without a seconds hesitation he replied, "A good suggestion Brian, but for the time being, I'll just have to do 'asbestos' I can". He always had a wicked twinkle in his eye when ever he saw an opportunity for a good pun.

I shall miss knowing he was ‘there’, as he was part of my life for 73 years, sometimes far away, sometimes near. More especially since he was the last of his generation and, as I mentioned to my cousin Brian, he was also my last link with that considerable chunk of my life spent, very happily, in Budleigh over the years

It was through his generosity that I was able to spend three months with him in 2012 during which we had some cracking times. I will always remember that even whilst dealing with severe and ongoing affliction, He lived the later years of his life with grace, courage and humour.

I can think of no better epitaph for this special man than by paraphrasing the last four lines of Kiplings ‘If’

Because he filled the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
His was the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And, what is more, he was a Man, my son!

With much love,

Nevy Brian
Alastair and Duncan (Family)
Remembering granddad:
- His incredible ability to withstand anything the English channel could throw at him
When we were much younger we would go every year to Budleigh and spend long enjoyable afternoons lazing on the beach. These afternoons were interrupted only when it was time for a "dip" in the sea, and without fail grandpa was first in the water. This was constantly impressive, and even more impressive if you factor in the time it would take him to actually get to the water - I have memories of him gingerly stepping down the stones in his flowing maroon dressing gown, even when his balance was suffering his sense of fun and adventure never did. When he eventually arrived at the shore he would proceed with no hesitation at all to stride / plunge into the freezing (!) water as if it were a warm bath. I never once saw him pause for even a second. From his watery vantage point he would then encourage us with typical good humour to effectively "Man up" (not necessarily his words), and eventually we'd all pile in after him, albeit considerably more slowly. Once in the water he was transformed and became like a seal, diving around and collecting various crabs / shells to show us. Always loved those afternoons, and they helped build up a very healthy appetite for the inevitable cake afterwards.

- His dinner antics
Speaking of food, grandpa was always at his best around the dinner table. Whether coating EVERYTHING in cream / sugar (the calories he managed to consume whilst never even approaching weight gain were astonishing), or making his favourite joke about how our eyes were too big for our tummies whenever we asked for that second piece of cake, he never missed an opportunity to play around. He even spent valuable time teaching us language skills and would ask for common table items such as butter / sugar and salt in swahili, just to keep us on our toes. I think I was the only grandchild in Devon who would be able to order a cheese sandwich if left to my own defences in Kenya.

- Not to mention his drink
Grandpa was an excellent wine-maker. I was able to tell this mostly from the effect his wine had on mum and dad, who both drank as much of it as possible whilst all the time "complaining" about how strong it was. It was really strong, and I found this out when I was eventually (or at least almost) at drinking age. It was incredibly tasty too I have to say, though I feel like I let him down if I wasn't able to name all 18 fruits which had gone into it (one of which was almost always gooseberry). Grandpa was always thrilled to be able to show others his craft and spend considerable time explaining the process to us in a way that was always interesting, even to us as young kids. He even occasionally and generously let us try a little when we weren't supposed to, but we should probably keep that to ourselves... Overall he was a man of so many talents and interests who was always prepared to share and delight in them with whoever was prepared to listen!


Likewise, as I've filtered back through my own memories of grandpa I certainly don't find myself short of gems. I also find that whenever I think of him he is either in his dressing gown and flippers on the beach, his old brown gardening jumper and sawn-off wellies or full tennis kit. I'm certain he did wear other clothes from time to time but those are the outfits that will forever stick.

Not to repeat Ali's comments, but just to say that a sunny day on Budleigh beach with grandpa's fearless determination to see us all suitably refrigerated by the icy sea (and then rejuvenated with hot cross buns) is a memory I will always look back on with (surprising) fondness. His house on Westbourne Terrace will also remain permanently filled with demijohns in my recollection.

My other favourite memories are all tied to the garden in one way or another. I remember becoming the closest I've ever been to 'green fingered' helping Grandpa out in the greenhouses, raspberry cage or picking never ending piles of green beans whilst he cursed the badgers that were determined to disrupt his croquet lawn. On which note, I don't think I've really ever played croquet before or since those sessions in grandpa's back garden, but I'm certain it wouldn't be half as fun. I remember always thinking I was doing quite well before his mustard yellow ball would come ploughing through, relocating mine to the flowerbed along the way.

Beyond all that I think he's best remembered almost in abstraction from any particular setting by his manner and his laugh. Always somewhere in the middle between mischievous and incredulous.

It was a great pleasure to know him.

Sheila Wilson (nee Hutchins) (Family)
The end of an era of family in Budleigh Salterton?

Sorry that I am unable to be with the family today for Guy's funeral, I have been thinking about the family's long association with Budleigh Salterton and the many happy times so many of us have spent there during our lives and which his death brings to a close - at least for the time being.

Our (Guy's and mine) great grandmother, Sarah Hutchins, 'retired' to Budleigh in the late 1880s with her three unmarried daughters and lived for the rest of her life in 'Estella' which later became the Rosemullion Hotel. She died in 1900 but the three girls stayed in Budleigh and were known as 'the Aunts' many of my father's generation remember happy seaside holidays with them. Blanche, the youngest, died young while visiting her eldest brother in 1912 but the other two, Frances and Julia remained in BS becoming Mrs Bailey and Mrs Layard in late (so childless) marriages. During the early 20th century other Hutchins 'cousins' followed in retiring to Budleigh and I can remember Guy's mother Agatha telling me that at one time there were at least six 'Hutchins' families living in or near the town. Guy's uncle Cedric who was killed in WW1 is remembered on the War Memorial there and many others lie in the graveyard.

Aunt Frances died in 1925 but Julia lived to be 90, dying in 1948 and leaving her home, Dark Lane House, to my father with an entail that it must stay in the male line of the family! We came to live there in 1949 when I was 14 and I fell in love with the place. The following year his cousin Agatha and her husband George Sparke arrived to live in Budleigh too. They arrived on 29 Aug 1950 to stay with us before moving in to their new house on the 31st They had their grandson Brian Arpel with them ('a nice wee boy - not a bit shy' I have noted in my 'Schoolgirls Diary'!!) We lived there until 1952 before we had to move to the London area. The house was then 'let' but we always managed to have it during the summer holidays. Agatha and George Sparke were followed, in about 1960, by her brother and his wife, Elwyn and May Hutchins who had returned from Kenya.

In 1965 my father, Reggie Hutchins, retired and he and Mum were able to return to live in Dark Lane House again. Soon after that Guy and Jean arrived back from Kenya with their three young sons and took up residence in Westbourne Terrace - so once again Budleigh was full of 'family'. That is when I first met Guy but I was to get to know him and Jean much better after Dad died in 1974 and they were so kind when my mother was living on her own. When we went to visit with our children we were always invited to join them at their beach hut and they would come up to DLH to play croquet so we have many happy memories of these times. Sadly May and Elwyn, a delightful couple, died before my parents and soon after they had gone George and Agatha also left to be nearer their daughter so, after my mother's death in 1977 Guy and Jean were the only remaining family.

My brother, Gordon had inherited the house, which was now let as two flats, but we were often able to visit, staying with one of his tenants, Isobel Drysdale, until she too passed away after which the property was finally sold - the entail having been legally broken. On these more infrequent visits we always looked forward to catching up with Jean and Guy who were always so welcoming. Gordon and I had always hoped to have a game of tennis with Guy but regretfully never managed it before my knees gave out first despite my being 18 years younger than Guy! Jean and Guy were both lovely people with many interests and so proud of their family - the last ten years on his own must have been hard for Guy but he coped well and now they are reunited. Sadly missed by so many they will not be forgotten - may they both R.I.P

Brian Sparke  (Family)
Dad was a man of many interests.

Around the house were demijohns bubbling and popping with fermenting wine. Behind the croquet-lawn the garden was bursting with fresh seasonal produce (mostly to support wine making): raspberries, gooseberries, runner beans, lettuce, apples, potatoes and even a grapevine in the greenhouse!

The attic was the venue for many sociable games of snooker or darts and a game of chess was always on the menu for those brave enough to take him on. In fact it was impossible to visit Budleigh without playing tennis, snooker, croquet or swimming in the surprisingly cold sea.

His grandchildren will remember the picnics on the beach, Grandpa's fanatical use of wind-breaks (wind or no wind) walking backwards in to the icy sea with flippers, snorkel and mask and his claw-like arm signals to shore whenever he saw a crab.

He was essentially a shy man but when in familiar company had a lovely sense of humour. It was always obvious when Dad was about to inject some humour in to the conversation. His expression took on a particular mischievous look and with a twinkle in his eye what followed was often a terrible pun.

Music had always been important to Dad and he often gave thanks to his mother's genes for his musical ear. In fact everything he did was punctuated with the humming of the latest tune in his head - a habit that stayed with him right to the end.

He was quietly amazing in many ways: from around the age of seventy he began using a PC to email, write letters and reconcile his household accounts - every month. without fail. However, old habits die hard and because he didn't fully trust the computer he very wisely kept paper copies of all his letters and monthly accounts.

Meal times for visiting family were almost always preceded by what was known as a ‘slurp’ – a glass of his homemade wine and an opportunity to discuss and compare the different flavours – my favourite was the raspberry! During meals the conversation around the table was characterised by the use of Swahili words for items that required to be passed such as butter, sugar, salt, water etc. much to the edification and delight of the grandchildren.

Not all the sweet fruit was used for wine making. Like his father before him, as he got older Dad developed a very sweet tooth, covering his desert with surprisingly large quantities of sugar. This alongside his passion for cream stunned fellow diners especially because somehow he did not gain the expected weight or increased cholesterol.

In recent years his regular visitors were his carers many of whom became very close to him. He was particularly keen on those who would sing with him while they worked – he was always looking for carers with good voices and it helped if (in his words) they were 'easy on the eye’.

Another phrase that was used a great deal in recent years usually followed the setting of a family visit date – he would say ‘provided of course that I’m still amongst those present’. Physically he may not be present but his memory is alive and well.

He leaves us with many fond memories and we will miss him.
Jackie Sparke  (Family)
Remembering Guy, my father-in-law……………where to begin? Others, in particular his grandchildren have written about their special memories and these are all bound with mine. Summer seemed to be eternal when I think of our family visits to Budleigh, and my memories are coloured with sunshine and laughter especially playing croquet, when much of the laughter was at my expense! Guy had a keen eye for all ball games but I’m afraid his instruction was wasted on my performance.
His homemade wine has been mentioned many times and I confirm that it was delicious and very strong, Guy was always amused at the effect it had on all of us. It also made games of charades extremely entertaining. I remember one occasion when he was attempting to act the word ‘bust’, I leave his actions to the imagination but it had us all crying with laughter! The subtlety of Guy’s sense of humour served to make it more powerful.
Guy enjoyed good food but towards the end of his life his tastes became narrower and request for Sunday lunch was invariably roast pork with all the trimmings. I will miss his real appreciation for this meal and for his expression of its enjoyment, which I think is unique, ’tastes like my foot’s asleep’. This expression came from his father and I will miss his lovely expression of mischief just before he uttered it…………and I will miss the man. Rest in peace Guy and thank you.
Photos  (5 of 38)
Jean (guy's wife) with his nephews Michael and Brian The family with a new addition around 1957 John's twins, Jean and Beryl at Min-i-Don. Guy below. Then Jean, Guy, Michael and Beryl at Winwood Grand-Daughter and Grand-Son, Sammie and Thomas at St Neots  2012
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