Old bobby’s bike from Gedney Drove End rides again

John Crust (left) with the old bobby's bike.
John Crust (left) with the old bobby's bike.
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Gedney Drove End’s bobby’s bike from about 75 years ago turned up in the village recently.

Roy Ashton, of Long Sutton & District Civic Society, says members were at Gedney Drove End Village Hall gathering information for the World War 1 exhibitions planned for later in the year when someone turned up on the old bike.

The bike once belonged to Fred Skerritt, who was born near Bourne in 1899.

His great nephew John Crust was one of four cousins riding the 60 miles in relay from Sturton-by-Stow, where Fred spent his retirement, to Gedney in memory of their relation.

John said the bike – “sturdy but not particularly comfortable” – was rediscovered in a garage in Sturton.

He says his great uncle Fred, who married Minnie Crust in 1929, was “of exemplary character and grew into a strong young man, reaching well over six feet tall and of stocky build. He was well suited to his chosen career of village police constable.”

Fred was the local bobby in several Lincolnshire villages, including Sturton and Gedney Drove End.

John says: “He upheld the law without fear or favour. His physical stature made him the ideal man to sort out a disturbance. Nobody put up any resistance to his calming presence or his confident arrest.

“In the days before police cars, the village bobby had his bicycle. Fred’s bike had to be heightened and strengthened to accommodate him.”

The couple lived in the Gedney police house in the 1930s and 1940s, where two of their nieces, Mary and Phyllis, spent several happy summer holidays with them in the years around the Second World War, according to John.

He says: “Fred’s bike has been rediscovered in a garage in Sturton and this will be about 75 years after it made its first appearance in Gedney. It is in surprisingly good condition after all those years. As was the norm in those days, it has no gears or rear brakes and the way to slow down is to pedal backwards.”

• Long Sutton & District Civic Society is holding its Residents’ Histories of World War 1 commemorative exhibitions at two venues.

The first is at St Matthew’s Church at Sutton Bridge on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27 (10am to 5pm on Saturday and noon to 4pm on Sunday).

The next exhibition is at the Royal British Legion Hall in Long Sutton on Saturday and Sunday, September 13 and 14 (10am to 5pm) – as part of Heritage Weekend.

The society will also be having a display of information gathered at a World War 1 event being held at Tydd Gote Baptist chapel on Sunday, July 13 (2pm), including cream teas and service of remembrance (3.30pm).