An interview with Maurice Funnell

Maurice Funnell at the Pavilion Gardens Cafe

Maurice was born in Leicester in 1930, after living there for only 6 months he moved to Brighton and has been here ever since (84 years). His family moved to Brighton because of his father, an ex-soldier, who was advised to move to Brighton to be by the sea for his health. Once they arrived in Brighton they moved to Providence Place for a short period of time. It was a very run down house, some evenings Maurice would be able to hear scratching behind the wallpaper where there were bugs moving around.
After leaving Providence Palace he moved to a council house on Wiston Road, Whitehawk. This was a big event for the family, the houses were newly built and there was a big ceremony to celebrate. Even a golden key was made especially for the event. New turf had just been put down and plants covered the garden. Plus there was a lovely brick wall. Many pictures were taken of the house for the ceremony with people outside it smiling; once all the pictures had been taken everyone got in their cars and left, taking the golden key with them. A few minutes later a lorry arrived outside the house. It took away the new turf and the plants. Leaving only the remnants of the old brick wall exposed. Everything was taken away.
He attended Whitehawk primary school when he was younger. Maurice left school when he was 14 and went into the building trade; He worked for the same company for all of his working life. He now visits the school to give talks about the wartime in the area, and shows the students the old air raid shelter which he used to go to during the war. He tells the children stories of all the things he used to do in the shelter, they love hearing about it all.
When he was younger Maurice was quite mischievous. He was always looking for ways to have an adventure. One time he and his friends were hiding in the bushes at the rubbish tip in Sheepcote Valley, when he saw a Brighton council van dump a stash of spears, shields, boomerangs and other very exciting things. The council dug a hole and dumped it all then covered it over with topsoil, once they had left they waited till it was clear and dug everything up to take with them. They found so much joy playing with the spears and shields; sadly they never got the hang of the boomerangs so they never came back.
Maurice is a frequent customer and friend of the cafe. He has been coming for 15 years now. Occasionally he comes down with his partner Gwen for the afternoon. He loves the cafe and coming to see people he knows, drink tea and snack on his personal favourite treat the fruit rock cakes.