Madge Mary Ann (my mother) 7/10/1910 - 9/8/1974
Was born at the Beehive Inn Wimborne Dorset (See birth certificate) Or more likely, born at the Fair/circus site behind this inn. She was adopted/looked after by the Cave family, I think from birth, until she married Patrick Charles Willis on 21/5/1934. The Cave's lived over and owned the grocer's shop opposite the Beehive Inn. So all my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins were members of the Cave family.
There are two stories regarding Mary Ann's (Chipperfield) death. One relates that she died at the time of giving birth to Madge and the other, told to us by Richard Chipperfield sen. is that she died of food poisoning a few years later from eating tinned lobster. Only one of these can be correct. Can anyone help with details? If so please e-mail me on
On leaving school Madge worked in a fashion shop in Wimborne. She met her husband when both were members of the Colehill parish church choir. (The church from where both were subsequently buried). Family folk memory said Dad first met Mum when she was pumping the church organ and he offered to take over. We still have the beautiful clock the choir gave to the couple as a wedding present.
On my birth (13/6/36) Madge developed horrendous leg ulcers which continued for the rest of her life. She was often confined to bed for many days, and sometimes weeks on end. A tragedy which was always with us as a family, yet borne stoically by Mum. Ironically in the last few years of her life things seemed to improve a little and they were for ever gadding about throughout the UK
For many years my father worked as the mechanic at a large tomato growing nursery. The Vineries, Wimborne. One year the staff had a "work's outing" to the Chipperfields circus and fairground which was (I think) at the Ladies Walking Field Poole Dorset. This must have been just after the end of WW2. My mother made herself known to the Chipperfields and as a result I had free rides on everything .... and was sick! This, to my knowledge, was the only occasion when my mother made direct contact with the Chipperfields. Presumably the fair was being run by another group in conjunction with the Circus.
Mother occasionally mentioned Topsy but I don't remember ever meeting her. I never heard her mention Jim. Of course I might be doing her a disservice as I am trying to remember episodes which happened over forty five years ago. I left home in 1954 to join the RAF
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