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Bernard Pearson Hayes

Bernard Pearson Hayes

Bernard Hayes was born in 1888 in South Island, New Zealand.  Bernard learned to play tennis and developed a passion for the game, which endured, throughout his life.
After being injured in WWI  he was posted to London. Whilst there he met the lady who was to become his wife and who went back to New Zealand with him at the end of the war.
When WWII ended he and his wife embarked on a tour of visits to their relatives  in Australia, Canada, the United States and England.
An aunt of Mrs Hayes lived in a house facing Top Green (the west side of Greenhill Cottage). They arrived in Upper Broughton in 1946 and because the aunt was in poor health, they stayed to look after her until she died. By now they were very much involved in village life so that when Mrs Hayes also died Bernard decided to spend the rest of his life in Upper Broughton where he had put down roots.
In the long history of the village, there can be few characters that have made such an impact. Accustomed to hard work, he was soon offering assistance to the farmers, indeed to anyone in need of a helping hand.  He single-handedly created the play area on Cross Green, from what had been an area of rough, scrubby grass, and maintained it for over 25 years.
The Tidy Village Gang

Using just a spade and a wheelbarrow, he cleared the whole area, leveled it, made a tilth, sowed grass seed, harrowed and rolled it, all by hand.  He made the posts and chains for the fence and all the original playground equipment for the children.   It originally still had a track through the middle but this was later closed to make it safer for the children.

He organized the children of the village into The TV Gang, (Tidy Village Gang).  As a result Upper Broughton won the competition for the ‘best kept village’ and was always in the running as long as he had anything to do with it. His tall, gaunt figure, often proudly topped with his Anzac hat, was a familiar sight about the village.
What was missing was tennis!
Hayes persuaded Colonel Holden who lived at Yew Tree House (to the left of the Golden Fleece) to allow the club to use his court one evening a week. This was better than no tennis, but not enough. Then, with the assistance of Jack Bailey, George Copley and Bill Enyon he persuaded Major Victor Smith to give him some land across the road from his house and pay for one court.
The posts supporting the netting surrounding the courts were put in by Mr Hayes in beds of concrete. He always did a thorough job – the ultimate in ‘do it yourself’.
The pavilion was purchased for £50 from a defunct sports ground in Nottingham. A corrugated iron hut (demolished in 1991) with a bucket was provided for the “Gents”. The ladies had to manage (and did until 2003) with a primitive camping facility in the pavilion.
When the project was completed the courts were opened on the 23rd June 1952 by Mrs Victor Smith, who struck the first ball.
My Hayes was in his 60’s at the time. He continued to play a good game until the age of 88 when he was awarded the Torch Trophy by the Playing Fields Association for services to tennis. He received the award from the England Cricket Captain Colin Cowdrey in a ceremony at the café Royal.
Bernard Pearson. Hayes died on April 25th 1979 (Anzac day) at the age of 91 in a nursing home in Newark and is buried in the Churchyard at Upper Broughton where in the latter part of his life he had contributed so much.
“Mr Hayes Was Upper Broughton.”
Sheila Hammond
“Everything he did was for children”
“…a wonderful engineer”
“…had the patience of Job”
“..made the Village Green single-handedly”
Dick Barrett and Michael Copley
Upcoming Events
Leicestershire Countryside under the Romans Jan 11, 2018 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM — Upper Broughton Village Hall
Commemoration of the Centenary of the end of World War 1 Oct 28, 2018 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM — St Luke's Church
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