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  • Writer's pictureShirley

Raymond Penfold - fondly remembered and very much missed


Raymond Penfold was a family man who built an enviable business and reputation as a man of great integrity. His word was his bond even if it meant disadvantaging himself.

He was also a charitable man who wanted to help others, and over many years he helped to raise considerable funds and provided donations to a variety of charities. Raymond’s parents, James and Ocean came from humble beginnings. They set up home in Kentisbury with their two young sons, Raymond and his older brother James. Sadly Raymond lost his father at a young age, leaving his mother to bring the two sons up on her own. After re-marrying the family moved to Vicarage Lodge in South Molton. Ocean was a canny woman and having bought some land she obtained planning permission for a Scrap Yard. Raymond and his stepfather Christopher started by collecting farm scrap and slowly began to build a business. These were competitive times and they had to work very hard to build their trade.

In turn Raymond married Vashtie Edwards, who was to be his loving wife for 48 years. Together they developed the scrap yard and built a home for themselves in Hacche Lane. The business that started as R Penfold and Son went on to become South Molton Metals and more recently SWM & Waste Recycling.

Vashtie was an integral part of the business and became company secretary, preparing all the accounts without the aid of the technology we all rely on today.

A family man by nature, Raymond was very proud of his children, Raymond Junior (born in 1963), Sharon (born in 1964) and Melanie (born in 1965) and along with Vashtie worked hard to ensure they had a wonderful childhood whilst building a successful and sustainable business.

After Vashtie’s sister died, closely followed by her brother in-law, she and Raymond took her nephew, Shawn Akers aged 15, into their home and he became part of the family. He and Raymond junior have been like brothers ever since.

Raymond handed the business on to Raymond Junior and Shawn to run. He instilled in them his strong work ethic and they were able to learn from the example he set. He and Vashtie built a successful business by rolling their sleeves up and doing everything themselves, they were a ‘one man band’ (or at least a husband and wife team). They invested wisely, bought land and new premises for scrap yards.

Raymond Senior will be much missed by friends and family alike. His funeral on the 30th March was packed with those wishing to pay their respects. A horse drawn carriage took him from the yard to the church and on to the cemetery. It was a suitable tribute to him and a reminder of the traditional times that he came from. An Austin A60 pick up which had been his vehicle of choice for many years was restored and took pride of place in the procession, helping to re kindle many special memories for the family.

Raymond senior or Mr P as he was affectionately known, would be very proud of the business he started, the people he employed and the legacy that he has handed down to his family.

He will be fondly remembered and very much missed.


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