The Goring Oak

Unveiling the memorial oak tree to George & Panny Goring (2 Dec 2021)

On 2nd December 2021 Penny and George Goring’s two children, Theresa and Jeremy and their families joined in with a village celebration of the lives of their parents and gave thanks for their long and happy relationship with Stansted and its residents. The full story of their lives is available under the People-Luminaries section of the website. The following section contains the speech made at the event by Theresa Goring.

The Goring family at the unveiling of the oak tree and commemorative plaque. The only person missing was Theresa’s son, Tom, who was unavoidably engaged elsewhere. Image courtesy of Chris Cattlin (formerly of Goodman’s Farm).

Mum and Dad loved living in Stansted. Dad grew up in Wrotham so he knew many people here already and his commute was only 25 minutes on the train. Mum found Ruskins by accident as she got lost on her way to look at another house. She also named it by accident by mishearing the name of the winning horse of a race broadcast on the radio as she was on her way to view Ruskins. On checking the spelling in the paper the next day she found out the horse had actually been called “Rustlings” but she preferred her misunderstood version. Despite these two mistakes Mum and Dad had 55 years of much-appreciated lives in Stansted.

Having horses meant close friendships with all the farmers in the area. They used to rent one of their fields from Ivor Stoneham for a crate of champagne every year. Despite very busy lives, they were involved in village life from the outset. I remember Dad being on the mowing rota for the church and one ill-advised time in the Stansted cricket team. Mum and Dad both pitched in with the fete and bonfire night and organised the carol singing. Everyone would meet at Ruskins for mulled wine and sausage rolls then climb onto the open muck cart towed by their Land Rover and travel around Stansted and for some reason the Moat, singing rather off-key due to regular top-ups of mulled wine in flasks “to keep warm”. Even us kids.

There were regular parties. Mum was particularly uninhibited, swinging herself up into the Philips’ Goodman’s Barn rafters for some impromptu gymnastics or, if hosting, kicking everyone out at much past ten, once with the help of a shotgun when shouting didn’t work. Bad behaviour solely due to alcohol. Dad shot a few persistently noisy alarms in the village (he also beat one with a rolling pin) and also a couple of dogs when they kept bothering Mum’s bitch in season. His eyesight was so bad that they only got a few pellets up the backside.

Later on, as their time became freer they joined in with civic life here, Dad became a Parish Councillor and Mum Chairman of the Village Hall. Mum also set up the Village Market and Coffee Maughning (named after the Maughns of what is now Kit’s House.) Mum also set up the Scottish Dancing sessions having to work quite hard to persuade the teacher Colin to travel rather a long way to try and deal with a bunch of total beginners. As Sheila Goodworth said to me when Mum died, all those friendships were formed due to Mum’s idea and persistence in setting up that club.

Christmas day at Ruskins was a free-for-all at lunchtime as we always had the horses to see to, and no time for morning church. Dad and Jeremy would put together smoked salmon on “chicken shit” (his gritty German bread) and break open the champagne while Mum and I mucked out, exercised and turned out. Our own Christmas dinner was always the worst of the year as we paid it only sporadic attention during the day.

Mum and Dad always voiced their appreciation of having found Ruskins to live in so happily but they also felt very lucky in being part of such a warm and supportive community. They received a lot of love and concern in their later years as their health failed, visits, phone calls, letters, food and high-vis vests and a head torch for Dad’s nocturnal walks. He tried his hardest to stave off his Parkinson’s with exercise but was often mistaken for a drunk staggering around in the dark, much to his amusement. To their very great luck in having Sam Bedford-Eatwell and her family just up the road, they were both able to die in their own home. Sam went above and beyond by spending 5 nights on the trot here during Dad’s last days which were in Lockdown One and getting specialist help was extremely difficult. Mum and Dad loved her and Jeremy and I will always be monumentally grateful to her. Sam also got her family in to help at times as well helping with lifting, shopping and queueing for drugs.

Stansted could not have done better for them, over their more than half-century here.

Author: Theresa Goring
Editors: Dick Hogbin, Tony Piper
Acknowledgements: Chris Cattlin
Last Updated: 08 April 2022