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Laddie Bennett

Laddie Bennett
Guy 'Laddie' Bennett taken in the 1930s
[Photo: Nigel Edwards](Click for a larger image)

Laddie was born at Ingestone, Foy, in 1905 and grew up there and at Brampton Abbots. He came from a long line of Bennetts known to have been in and around the Ross area for 500 years. He worked for Dampier & Wigmore (auctioneers) before learning the motor trade with Longford & Hicks and starting up his own business around 1938 in Edde Cross Street. When the garage was requisitioned by Multicore Solders in 1939 he became a wartime reserve constable. After the war, he re-started his garage business and continued until he retired in the late 1970s, giving the business to his chief mechanic, Sandy Lane. After Sandy retired in the mid-1980s the premises was sold to Alan Porter.

In his youth, Laddie was highly active among the sporting and charitable bodies in the town, being at various stages captain of Ross Hockey, Ross Cricket, the Larruperz, and a member of the Vitruvian Lodge of Freemasons. Following a long family tradition, he was an active shareholder and director of the Alton Court Brewery (like his father and grandfather before him) and became its last chairman in the 1950s, a position which unfortunately led to him heading its inevitable sale to the Stroud Brewery, which closed it down with the loss of all jobs. It was a decision which weighed heavily on him for the rest of his life and cost him many friends in the town and many people in the town refused to speak to him. It was made worse as it was a time of high local unemployment but it was an unavoidable decision.

The Vitruvian Lodge was the first Freemason's Lodge set up in Ross and most of the Ross worthies of the late 19th and early 20th century belonged to it. It was highly influential in the "politics" of the town and Laddie's father, Philip Charles Bennett, was a Worshipful Grand Master at one stage but he seemed to loose interest as time progressed.

Another member of the family, James Lewis who died in 1897, had a big Freemason's funeral in Ross, according to the Ross Gazette. The Lodge paraded with the coffin through the town carrying acacia branches which they afterwards threw into the grave. The villa where he lived in Over Ross Street was called Acacia Villa too. He was also a member of the town council and a local builder.

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Many thanks to Nigel Edwards for the supply of the details on the garage.

[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:59]

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