Cyril, who lived in Victor Street, died aged 67 from prostate cancer on September 19, 2013. He was born in Oxford, one of five children, and was largely brought up by his grandmother in a crowded house in Headington Quarry – ‘six in a bed’. He went to Margaret Road School in Headington and while still at school worked part-time at Vallis’s bakery in Headington where he subsequently trained and worked as a baker. In the mid-1970s he moved to the Straw Hat bakery in Summertown.
At that time, Cyril was living in a mobile home in Radley, but for several years used to stay in Jericho on a Saturday night with Irene and Roger Turner, who lived in Cardigan Street. On Saturday evenings, they would go to the Bakers Arms, which was then on the corner of Cardigan Street and Albert Street. Here he met Sue Lennon, who was living with her parents in Victor Street.
Cyril was very shy then, and when Sue did not appear for a couple of weeks he asked her parents where she was. They told him she was on holiday in Greece. When Sue returned, Irene Turner decided to take the initiative and invited Sue to go for a Chinese meal with them. Cyril and Sue then started going out together and did so for several years before they were married at St Barnabas Church in April 1988.
For a couple of months they lived in Radley, but this was difficult because Cyril was working nights in Summertown while Sue was working at the UBM builders’ merchants in Aristotle Lane. Also, Sue’s father, Joe Lennon, had been ill and the hospital advised them to live near her parents. With the help of the vicar, Father Michael, they managed to get a flat in Victor Street.
In 1989, Cyril got a job at Lucy’s Iron Works in Juxon Street. Here he worked as, among other things, a ‘pillar builder’ – making the metal boxes used for local telephone switches. Eventually he transferred to their factory in Thame, but his health was poor and after 13 years he had to retire early at 63 because of arthritis.
Despite his own health problems, Cyril gave devoted care to Sue’s parents, Joe and Pansy. When Joe died in 1994, they moved into the house in Victor Street to look after Pansy who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Many people will remember Cyril pushing Pansy’s wheel chair to Mount Place to see the ducks on the canal. Cyril also loved to spend time at his allotment.
In 2011, he started working as a cleaner at the Jericho Community Centre. Cyril was a very conscientious cleaner, always cheerful and willing to come in out of hours if necessary. Early in 2013, however, he had to stop working due to ill health, and was looked after by Sue until his death. His funeral was on October 3rd at Barton crematorium followed by a celebration of his life, in the Bookbinders Arms, where his brother entertained Cyril’s many friends with stories of their childhood in Headington Quarry.