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Seek and ye shall find

Seek and ye shall find
Mr and Mrs Rawson on their wedding day
Seek and ye shall find
The couple at their shop in Bath Road Kettering
Seek and ye shall find
Mr. Rawson (middle row, second left)
Wednesday 30th January 2008 by C. Freeman

A mystery Bible which turned up in Brooke Weston's lost property department has finally been claimed. The tiny new testament belonged to Leonard Rawson, a local man who died nearly a quarter of a century ago. Now the book has been claimed by his niece, who lives in Hertfordshire after the story featured in a local newspaper.

Mrs Betty Fowell contacted the College after the article was passed on to her, but still has no idea how the Bible ended up at Brooke Weston. It was presented to Mr Rawson to mark his admission into the Forces in 1917 by the Fuller Sunday School in Kettering.

Mrs Fowell said: 'I've got his RAF demobilisation papers and the metal bracelet which servicemen wore and they were in his bureau. I presume that the Bible was on a shelf and was cleared out after he died in 1983, but we'll never know how it came to be in Corby.'

Mrs Fowell is a keen family historian who has traced her family tree back 300 years. She was able to supply quite a lot of details about her uncle, Leonard Bertram Rawson who was born on 4th October 1899 in Kettering. He served in the Royal Air Force from 6 November 1917 until demobilisation on 3 August 1919, leaving with the rank of AC2 and having served overseas.

At the age of 37 and employed as a knife filer, Leonard wed Miss Edith Maule, who worked as a button holer in a clothing factory. They married at the London Road Congregational Church in Kettering on 25 September 1937. Len was employed at Montagues Knife and Cutter Works in Field Street and the couple moved to 33 Bath Road in Kettering where they owned and ran a general corner shop, although Mr Rawson still carried on his job in the factory.

The couple, who had no children, retired in the mid 1960s and enjoyed many holidays together until Mrs Rawson died in June 1982, with her husband dying 18 months later on 8 December 1983 at the age of 84.

Mrs Fowell, who was Mrs Rawson's niece said: 'Uncle Len never spoke about his time in the Forces at all. He was a quiet man but a very good pianist. I remember Uncle Len playing the piano during the evening at my Aunty's 70th birthday party.'

The Bible, first presented to Mr Rawson over 90 years ago, is now being reunited with his family where it will join the stack of bibles, photos and memorabilia that Mrs Fowell has amassed during 30 years of research into her family history.

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