Sarah Giddings

The following obituary by Peggy Miller first appeared in the June 1979 issue of the Orwell Bulletin

Photo:Sarah at an Orwell event

Sarah at an Orwell event

"Some of us who have lived all our lives in the village do not remember a time without Miss Giddings, until she had to go into hospital and then into Moorlands, at Melbourne, a couple of years ago, where she has recently died at the  age of ninety six.

started school at three years old,

Miss Giddings’s influence on the village was great and she was admired for her hard work and held in affection by everyone. What changes she had seen in her long life! She started school at three years old, her parents paying 2d weekly, and she left at the age of twelve, going into domestic work in the village but soon leaving to work in London and Cambridge. She joined the Land Army in both World Wars. She was a Sunday school teacher for many years and had been a member of the Salvation Army when Orwell had a band and the instruments were kept in the barn behind her cottage.

Photo:Sarah Giddings 1900

Sarah Giddings 1900

Older members of the community talk about the little shop which she kept in her younger days in the cottage where she was born, as was her father Ebenezer. Many of them said, “I can see her now, coming through the little narrow slit in the wall into the shop” (the shop where they went to buy among other things, sweets, tea, liquorice laces, and little bottles of eucalyptus). Another friend speaks of the time when she retired to the village and the fun she had with Miss Giddings going  ‘sticking’ with an old pram and a box on wheels. Indeed these vehicles were also used for collecting jumble and it is easy to recall the enthusiasm and joy with which Sarah invested these comparatively recent occasions.

served rabbit for thirteen consecutive Sundays


She looked demure but her sense of fun and enjoyment were always apparent, she was a store of jokes and anecdotes. When she was in hospital a few years ago she was amusing her visitors with tales of long ago, particularly one about a preacher who visited Orwell every Sunday for a whole quarter and was entertained to dinner by a different household each week. When it was found in the first week that he enjoyed rabbit, the word was quietly passed on resulting in his being served rabbit for thirteen consecutive Sundays! When he came to the last Sunday and looked at his plate he exclaimed,

'Rabbit hot, rabbit cold,

Rabbit young, rabbit old,

Rabbit tender, rabbit tough,

Thank the Lord I’ve had enough.'

Miss Giddings suffered hardship and tragedy, especially when she lost her husband to be only hours before her wedding day; from then on she said she lived to help anyone in need.

Photo:Sarah Giddings at her 90th Birthday party in 1972

Sarah Giddings at her 90th Birthday party in 1972

When asked at her ninetieth birthday party for her recipe for long life, she could only say, 'Christian living, good wholesome food, and the wonderful Orwell air.'

Sarah lived simply, with a cheerful serenity and contented mind and was an example to us all trying to live our lives in these busy hectic days.

We all count it a privilege to have known her.


This page was added by Pat Grigor on 17/10/2012.

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