Claremont News 2017



Welcome to our Christmas Newsletter for 2017.

Our family has grown. A child is born. She wasn’t visited by shepherds and wise men but by doting grandparents. Bearing gifts we traversed afar; following yonder signs down the A1 to Cambridge. Other grandparents, also doting, travelled from their home in Northampton to greet the child wrapped in a home knitted shawl and lying in a Moses basket.

Just follow the links below for more stories from our year.

We trust you have a peaceful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Please note the change in our phone number on the last page.

Lots of love from Barrie and Joan.

A child is born
New Room
Big Meal
Great running

Trains and Gardens
More for Restore
Other news – including Weddings, New Car and ditching the landline

Welcome Anna

Anna asleep

Anna – 9days old

Late in the day and in the year, Anna Ellen Stephenson emerged into the world to the delight of us all and especially Matthew and Laura. She weighed in at 9lb 10oz at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge 17 days after her due date. Mum and baby are well and dad is giddy with love affection and pride.

We have been to see them all twice already in flying visits to Cambridge. We can confirm that she is lovely. Alex and Emily are also delighted to have a cousin, although Alex pondered that he will be 20 by the time Anna is the same age as he is now.

Matthew and Laura have also announced their engagement with a wedding planned in August next year. So our grand-daughter Emily will have her desire to be a bridesmaid fulfilled.

The Garden Room

Interior Garden Room

Interior – Garden Room

Since Warwick’s death  his room had lain abandoned – looking sad and neglected. At the end of February the builders arrived to transform the bedroom extension into a garden/sun room.

It wasn’t without its drama. The plan was to rearrange windows, add new doors and replace the flat roof. The alterations soon showed up the shoddy workmanship of the original shell. We agreed that most of the walls should be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up.


The builder we had engaged was brilliant. Despite the change of plans he kept us updated on costs throughout and brought the whole project to conclusion only a little over budget. He co-ordinated the team of general builders, electricians, plumbers, joiners and decorators almost seamlessly. When it was finished it was so much better than we had first imagined. Now it is our favourite room in the house with its huge picture window, arched doorway opening onto the patio. We added furniture and rug to make it a really comfortable sitting room in winter and garden room in summer. We could rent out the rest of the house; we spend so much time in this room.

On the wall is a framed Ordnance Survey map centred on Studley Park near Ripon, where Warwick’s ashes are scattered. We’ll always call it Warwick’s room and had he still been alive he would have loved it; but he has a heavenly home now and we are at peace about that. Next month marks the third anniversary of his death.



Meals for the family

Stephensons 2017

Barrie, Ruth, Jan, Mark Stephenson


The first family meal of the year with the Stephenson family met up in Kenilworth.  It was a good evening although Jan and Bill were a little under the weather with a dose of flu.

In October Joan took on the mammoth task of offering to provide the Ashmore Family meal. She wanted to keep costs down and make the event as cheap as possible for the younger families with children. We hired the Burntwood Institute Memorial Hall so that the venue was with easy reach for families that wanted to travel home afterwards.

So with many hands making lighter work Joan set about providing a three course meal with three menu choices for over forty people. The event also marked what would have been Mum Ashmore’s 100th birthday so it was good to have a celebration that so many could attend. Sadly we were so busy not a single photo was taken.



Running his socks off

Barrie in Shelter tShirt

After a year of running Barrie stood at the start on the Great North Run, the half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields, along with 56000 other runners. His time to the end 2 hours 19 minutes.

Preceding this challenge he had contributed 10km to Chase the Sun and run the York 10k, both in aid of Restore. This race as the shirt shows was for Shelter. In total he raised over five and half thousand pounds to help homeless people.

Running has remained a firm commitment in 2017, usually with three runs a week including the York Parkrun on Saturday morning with a steadily improving personal best times. Some of the most memorable runs have been with family members; son Matthew and brother Mark.

Will there be a marathon in 2018? He’s already booked into the Coventry Half Marathon, York 10k and the Great North Run – the Yorkshire Marathon is in October – will he have recovered enough for 26 miles? Possibly.