Oliver John Field

7 September 1934 – 28 August 2018

Fifield was saddened by the sudden death of Oliver Field a few days before his 84th birthday. Born in Jasmine Cottage, Church Street to the respected local Field family, Oliver lived in Fifield for the first two years of his life and then moved with his parents, Doris and Ellis, to the newly built Petrie Cottages in Idbury, where he grew up. He went to school in Idbury and then Burford, before joining local builders Alfred Groves, as an apprentice joiner; once qualified as a Journeyman carpenter-joiner, Oliver did his National Service with the Somerset Regiment. That service took him to Malaya during a dangerous and difficult time as a jungle war was fought to prevent the country being over-run by communists.
Home again and non-the-worse for his adventures (even imbibing the local and explosive brew) Oliver returned to Groves but later joined Stan Davis in Fifield as Joiners’ Shop Foreman, remaining there until the late 1960s when he went back to Alfred Groves, this time as Craftsman Joiner. So highly was the firm regarded and so sought-after that Oliver worked on the restoration of Gatcombe Park in the 1970s, as well as Laura Ashley in Oxford and several landed estates. Aside from his work, Oliver was well known in local sport, enjoying cricket and tennis in Fifield and playing football for Milton under Wychwood.

In 1963, Oliver married his beloved Shelagh and they moved to Hurdlemakers in Fifield, the home they loved and lived in for the next 55 years, their happiness being crowned when their son Kevin was born. A keen gardener Oliver, with Shelagh, was also much involved in the life of the church and village.
Oliver will be sorely missed but his work lives on in his craftsman’s carpentry. Everyone going to the lectern in Fifield Church has Oliver’s work in front of them in the form of the cleverly added deep ledge designed by Oliver to hold a large presentation bible securely; elsewhere in the church there are notice boards and shelves all made with Oliver’s craftsman’s precision.

In 1999 Oliver was diagnosed with cancer but fought back through surgery, radio therapy and then chemotherapy. He still continued to enjoy life in the village he loved, joining in fund raising and social events. Sadly, his cancer returned in the summer of 2018 and it was a sad day when he no longer felt able to raise and lower the flag of St George on special occasions as was the custom. This truly seemed the end of an era. Sadly, on 28 August, Oliver lost his battle.
Fifield Church, for Oliver’s funeral on 12 September, was standing-room only when friends came from far and wide to remember this good, kind, and gentle man, who was always courteous, always polite, always thoughtful, always ready to help and who loved his home, his church and his village. He rests now in Fifield Churchyard by the wall near his and Shelagh’s home

Oliver, our friend, it was a privilege to know you.

Catherine Hitchens

December 2018 – January 2019