James Albert Simmonds 1909 – 2003
Jim Simmonds passed peacefully away on 16 January. He had a tumble on Christmas Day and was taken to Hemel Hospital where he remained until his death. It was the first time he had ever been to hospital.
He was born in Chipperfield just two years after his father, Herbert, established his famous nursery garden business. As a boy, Jim helped his father and brother Arthur to grow plants and when Arthur sadly died in 1941, Jim took over running the business. During World War 2 he was part of the local A.R.P. and the nursery grew large quantities of vegetables and potatoes. By the time he ‘retired his three sons had joined him and the nursery had become one of the first garden centres in Hertfordshire.
Throughout his long life Jim was a member of the Chipperfield Baptist Church. He became a Steward in 1928, was Treasurer from 1936 and Deacon from 1940. He was also the church’s longest-serving organist, playing there from 1928 until the end of the century. Playing the organ was one of his favourite hobbies. Jim met Mimie Williams when she moved into the village and joined the Baptist Church in 1925. She often pumped the organ for him and they became great friends. They married in 1934 and had three sons, Terry, Robin and Philip and two daughters, Monica and Pat.
Jims early days were spent in the horse and cart era but as soon as he was able he was riding motorbikes. When riding a motorcycle combination he drove too close to a roadside pond and Jim, motorbike and passenger, Lisle Venables, ended up in the middle of the pond. He was still driving a car well into his 80s. Jim also loved football and he played for the Chipperfield Boys team when just 11 years old. He loved innovations and when television arrived in 1946 he was one of the first to get one. Nearly 60 years later he still loved to watch football matches on the ‘box.
Mimie, now nearly 93, has helped Jim in all his many ventures throughout his long and interesting life.
Terry SimmondsTags: Baptist Church, Terry Simmonds