Proud father, grandfather, great grandfather and husband, Vincent Austin spent many years living with his wife Joan and their family at the Old Vicarage in Flitton before moving in 2006 to Suffolk, where he passed away peacefully a few months ago. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by many in Flitton and Greenfield, having given so much of his time here to helping the local community in every way he could.
Vincent was born in 1929 in Northamptonshire. He attended Wellingborough Grammar School and Technical College, and initially worked in farming and engineering, despite early ambitions to become an artist. All these would feature heavily in his later life. During National Service he developed his skills in vehicle engineering and metal work, later finding time to train as a registered silversmith. He also published several books.
Vincent became a lecturer in agricultural engineering at Silsoe College in the 1950’s, where he designed (and even patented!) agricultural equipment. He hoped that this would lead to opportunities abroad — which it did! He worked in Peru, Panama, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Greece, Papua New Guinea and Mexico… the list goes on.
Amazingly he still managed to be so involved in village life, becoming a Churchwarden and active member of the PCC for many years. In 1990 when the diocese was planning to get rid of the Church Hall, it was Vincent who saved it – setting up the management committee, and was its first chairman and fundraiser. In 1995 he was elected as an independent District Councillor, and later served on the Parish Council where he became chair in 1998. He was also a foundation governor of Greenfield School – where he also volunteered to teach Design Technology.
Somehow in all this frenetic activity, Vincent finally managed to fulfil his long-held dream of taking up painting in a serious way, and many a wall in the village is graced by his pictures, many of which he generously donated to fund-raising events. The paintings in this collection are gleaned from various houses in the parish.
There will be a memorial service for Vincent in Flitton Church on Saturday 9th October at 2.30 p.m.