Listen: Don Riddle
Don Riddle records his memories with Felicity Pine
Don Riddle was born in 1930 and has lived in Oldbury on Severn all his life. He has a wonderful memory and vividly recalls village life in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as events and experiences during the Second World War. In those days mobile cider mills went round the farms in autumn making the cider, which fermented in barrels on the farms and was sold in the spring sales. This was an important area for fruit growing and dairy farming. Over the years Don has watched the orchards and dairy herds disappear.
Don’s mother drowned in the River Severn in a tragic accident when he was 8 years old. He grew up with his grandparents in the village, and after leaving school, he started farming. In 1962 he joined the Milk Marketing Board as an artificial inseminator, a job which he did for 31 years until retirement.
Don started salmon fishing with his father aged 9, and he tells many stories about fishing over the years, including the time when he and Deryck Huby (also an interviewee) caught a salmon that weighed 36 and a half pounds! In retirement Don still makes putchers and retains his interest in old machinery. He takes his engines around to local shows.