1901 - 1984
Funeral address by the Rector, Revd. Barry D. Walker M.A., 2nd Nov 1984
Les Frost wrote two children's books - Billy the Buck Jumper (about a railway engine) and Tilly the Traction Engine - and they have been read with pleasure by thousands of children. But there is no doubt that they are written by a schoolmaster who was a born teacher and communicator. By the time you have read these and enjoyed them, you also find that you have been well instructed in the principles of steam locomotion, various farming processes, and the running of railways.
As we remember Arthur Leslie Frost, we thank God that Takeley was privileged to have him as the headmaster of the school for nearly 50 years - 1932 to 1961. So many of you here today are his former pupils and look back with gratitude for all he did for you. And not just in school hours. Living in the village, he was always there with his wide interests and keen sense of humour, and his concern for the whole community.
He was an academic - a thinker, teacher and author. As well as the children's books, he wrote the excellent short history of Takeley. He was skillfully practical - he knew what he was writing about in "Tilly the Traction Engine" because he bought one and restored. it and used it. Son of an engine driver, Les was a railway addict -to the great joy of all the children who travelled on the railway in his back -garden. He was a keen sportsman - with football as his first love; player, chairman and president of Takeley Club, active member of the Essex County Football Association. Until last season he wrote reports on matches for the local paper, and almost to the tine of his death he watched the home matches in Takeley. If the history of Takeley football, the Cricket Club, the tennis, and the Badminton Club are ever written, the name of Les .Frost would appear again and again and again.
He was musical singing with the Bishop's Stortford Musical Association, and for a time in the Church choir. He produced an annual Pantomime from 1959 to 1952, and there are those here today who can still quote their lines from his pantomime adaption of Treasure Island".
In his 52 years in Takeley there seems to be little in the life of the village that Les Frost was not involved in. He was on the Parish Council for 17 years, and its vice chairman for 9 years. He was the secretary of the Silver Jubilee Hall Fund and a driving force behind its building, and then chairman of the Hall Committee. He was a founder member of the Social Club, and in the last months of his life enjoyed meeting there with his many friends.
I know a little of his religious beliefs through my talks with him in recent months. One of his convictions he wrote about in the May issue of the Church and Village Magazine- for his belief was closely linked with service to the community. He wrote:
One of the fundamentals of Christianity is the principle of "Love thy neighbour as thyself" By "neighbours" this doesn't mean just those next door but anyone, or any common cause needing help. So looking back a bit, I recall just a few of the many examples of community work in the village in recent years. The restoration of the interior of the Church, the provision of a Recreation Ground on land given free of charge, the equipment of the field by voluntary effort, and the building of a first class Social Club, this in part by volunteers. Then there are the many flourishing sports clubs and other organisations - all self-supporting and financed entirely by local effort.
So, if service is the touchstone of the Christian Religion there are a lot of Christians in Takeley. So I would say to the people - Hold your heads high, you have done much to be proud of. Carry on the good work.
In all this Les has had the loving support of his wife - and we offer you, Mrs. Frost, and Colin, Peter and Jill and all the family our deep sympathy at this time of sorrow. The words of the funeral service are designed to put our thanksgiving for Les Frost's life, and our sorrow at his death, into the wider context of God's love and purpose for us in this life, and through death into the more abundant life he has prepared for us.
Over the last months you have been greatly helped by the concern and care, thoughtfulness and practical assistance shown by many friends in Takeley. Since his death you have been comforted- by the very many letters and expressions of sympathy. This afternoon, as you follow the coffin out of Church and see the mass of people around you, you will know the great esteem, admiration and love that the community of Takeley has for Les Frost, the person who has done most for the village within living memory. God gave him an abundant supply of talents. Les did not bury them, but gave them back in service. A quotation came to mind as I thought about him and what people have told me about him.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty, or tailed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a blessing.
May he find the forgiveness, joy, and abundant life which our Lord has prepared for us in the Father's House.