About this site

This site now incorporates his original website and this blog.
His life – as he saw it – is captured here. All the words are his own.

He produced 2 CDs of his favourite piano music. These pages give some details about his varied career which has included flying training in Tiger Moths during the war, inventing solar panels and breeding roller pigeons.

Dudley Steynor studied with Vernon Warner (1887-1973) – one of the finest pianists during the early years of this century (many would argue the finest Chopin player of his day). He also spent two years (1935/7) in Berlin with the Edwin Fisher school where he studied under Conrad Hanson.

A musical career was interrupted by the war where he served in the RAF qualifying as a flying instructor in which capacity he was awarded the AFC in 1944. After the war he taught music at Brondesbury-at-Stocks, near Tring, for sixteen years succeeding Vernon Warner there. He also maintained his interest in flying by instructing on gliders and flying the tug aircraft for them.

Thank you

William, Linden and James would like to thank everyone for their messages, cards and letters of condolence and to all those who attended Dudley’s Service of Thanksgiving on Friday.

We really appreciate all the kind and lovely thoughts and for supporting us at  this time


The Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Dudley Vernon Steynor

Service conducted by  The Revd Canon Cavell Cavell-Northam


Dudley was born on 16 October 1909 in Malvern where he grew up with his two brothers and sister in a large family home enjoying the freedom of the Malvern Hills.  Kite flying, model aeroplanes, motor cycles and motor cars were just some of the hobbies pursued by the family.

His interest in music developed at an early age as the family were very close to Vernon Warner the young protégé pianist.

Dudley was in one of the first intakes at Stowe school and a contemporary of David Niven, Sir Nicholas Winton and Geoffrey de Haviland .  In later years he bumped into David Niven at Heathrow Airport. David recognised him immediately, which says a great deal about the Steynor profile.

On leaving Stowe he studied the piano in London at the Academy of Music   living in Kew with his brother Martyn.  Together they joined the Hounslow Flying club and learned to fly.

Following his studies at the London Academy of Music he was advised to continue studying in Europe and chose Berlin where he studied at the Edwin Fischer School, only returning due to the imminent possibility of War.

His wish to assist the war effort as a pilot was initially thwarted by poor eyesight.  Having spent some months on the ground as a Link Trainer Instructor, and following a weekend party at the house of Jumbo Edwards his Commanding Officer and pre war Olympic Gold Medal Rower, a further medical in London was arranged. This medical was with the Chief Medical officer of the RAF.  He proceeded to test his eyesight by initially requesting him to read the chart with his good eye and then, without changing the chart and while looking the other way, asked him to read it again!  Dudley passed.

Some months later Dudley bumped into the Chief Medical Officer, thanked him, and asked if he realised that in fact his eyesight in one eye was really quite poor.  He replied that he knew people who could see perfectly and were quite lethal in the air and some people, like  Dudley, who might not have perfect eyesight but were  excellent pilots. As one who spent his time on the ground he would prefer people like Dudley above him!

The outcome of this was a posting to Booker Airfield as an Instructor in charge of B Flight where he spent the rest of the war. Here he met Ann who was assisting the war effort by helping with the tea wagon along with two of the sisters of King Zog of Albania who was living in exile at Parmoor here in Frieth.  Dudley and Ann were married in 1943.

On being de-mobbed Dudley decided that a career as a concert pianist was no longer an option and proceeded to devote his energies to designing and developing various ideas.  The first of these was the Verdik Petrol Economiser which made significant improvements to the petrol consumption of the cars of the day, and was widely acclaimed by the motoring press.

There followed  a humane rat trap which he designed at the request of his uncle in Birmingham who owned a hardware shop and it was the mesh of this trap that led to his next significant development.

A famous burns’ surgeon was staying with the Hon Mrs James in Lane End and on seeing one of the traps announced this was just the mesh needed to make guards to protect children from the horrendous burns suffered as a result of accidents with electric fires.  Dudley came up with a suitable design and as a result was kept busy for a few years supplying the electricity companies and then gas companies with guards to fit to all their various models. It was not long however before the manufacturers started incorporating guards at the manufacturing stage bringing this market to a close.   Guards for open fires were a further development and these carried on selling for a number of years.

Dudley and Ann started their married life at The Cottage, Lane End next to the old Chapel on Moor Common.  William was born here in 1948.

In 1951 they moved to Colliers Corner on the day of the birth of their daughter Linden who Dudley delivered in the absence of the midwife who had not yet arrived.  Dudley always said he was not phased by this as he had been in the Boy Scouts!!!

The family was completed by the arrival of James in 1956.

Although continuing throughout his working life with his inventions he decided that with a growing family to support he needed a more stable income. This led to his ownership of Goodchild’s Garage in Lane End and then a Daf Dealership.  Soon Dafs could be seen wherever you looked!

Among his many and varied interests steam always held a fascination. The purchase of an Avelling & Porter Steamroller gave the local community a much loved landmark as he kept it next to the road outside his house.

In 1964 he was tempted back to flying when William started gliding at Booker, now Wycombe Air Park. Dudley was soon recognised as an excellent pilot and instructor and he continued enjoying his gliding in retirement up to the age of 84.

In early 1981 disaster struck. There were extensive power cuts across the area as a result of a heavy snow fall. Dudley had taken Ann out to get a hot meal when the power was restored. The resultant surge caused a fire in Colliers Corner and they returned to find five fire crews doing their best to get it under control. They had lost nearly everything they owned.

Undaunted, a mobile home was bought and placed at the bottom of the garden for them to live in. The initial clearing of the site was carried out by two young men who were keen to earn some money between their training sessions at Marlow Rowing Club. A number of local tradesmen were engaged to rebuild the house and by the spring of 1982 they were able to return. As a thank you for all the hard work Dudley took the two rowers gliding. In the years that followed he watched with great interest the developing career of one of those rowers, Sir Steve Redgrave.

Following the death of his wife Ann in 1996 he returned to his music and at the grand age of 87 produced two CDs of his favourite piano pieces.

Latterly he kept himself fit by doing at least 10 minutes a day on his exercise bike and completing fiendish Soduko puzzles until only a few months before his death.

His 100th birthday was a milestone he wanted to achieve. He thoroughly enjoyed his day which many here I am sure will remember as it brought Lane End to a standstill!

Celebration of Dudley’s life:

16 October 1909 – 4 December 2009

Dudley - November 2009

Celebration of his life

Friday 11 December 2009

1200 hrs at

Frieth Church

and afterwards in Frieth Village Hall


Flowers or Donations welcome

Funeral Directors:  Surman & Horwood, The Green, Crowell,
Chinnor OX39 4RR.  Tel No 01844 351323

Donations to: Macmillan Cancer Care
(either ring 020 7840 4900 or donate on line
Quoting Dudley Steynor)


It is with great sadness….


Diary entry by his daughter:

It is with great sadness that  I have to announce that Dudley passed away at home at 4.40 this morning, 4 December 2009.  William, James and I were with him.  It was very peaceful and he was in no pain.  He just drifted gently away.

He had a wonderful and  – at times – charmed life, most of which you can read about in the postings on this blog and on his website.  I hope, very much, you enjoy browsing through his stories, all of which were written by him.

He had achieved his aim of reaching his 100th birthday and didn’t want to go on.  His great wish, since his birthday, was to be with Ann, his wife, and his brothers Martyn and John.  His sense of humour stayed with him to the end but he had had enough of this world.

The funeral will be on Friday 11 December.  I will post full details over the next few days.

RIP our wonderful and special father


DVD on Music, Flying & Pigeons

Diary entry from Dudley’s daughter

Ian Keill has just completed a wonderful DVD about Dudley covering some of the most important parts of his life.

Beautifully filmed and edited – a wonderful momento for us to enjoy!

Copies are available!!

Dudley has been rather unwell recently with a bad chest infection.  Despite a few set backs he appears to be on the road to recovery!

Centenary Celebration

Diary entry by Dudley’s daughter:

New pages have been added to the blog covering the special day!  To view them click above on:  Air Display Photos, Vintage Photos, The Celebration  & Guests or Centenary Day!

Lots of photos have now been added!


Dudley really enjoyed his day and would like to thank everyone who came and made it so special for him.  He admits he was rather overwhelmed on the day but has lots of wonderful memories of it and has been chatting avidly about it all.

At the last count he had received over 90 cards – and they still keep coming!  He is thrilled by them all and the wonderful comments in them.

Apart from the mass of cards from the UK, messages and cards flooded in from Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Canada and America.

People have made and even painted special cards – and all have really touched him.  So thank you everyone.

Dudley setting out for his party

Dudley setting out for his party

He is in fine form again today!

99 and 365 days – not out!!

This evening my daughter asked me to what do I attribute my long life?

My answer is “Reading books which have a purpose”

My daughter has also added: Consumption of copious amounts of salt, sugar, full-fat milk, double cream and butter! She’s probably right!

Note from daughter: Please let the weather be fair tomorrow at noon. At the moment it’s not looking too good!

the scrapdealer

Dudley has asked me (his webmaster and daughter!) to add this to his blog!

I hope you enjoy this little story:

“A scrap dealer who had made a lot of money decided to spend it on giving his daughter a first class education.

He sent her to all the best schools and finished up with two years at a well known Swiss finishing school.

When she came back he said to her:

‘Well how did you get on?’

‘Ooh’ she said, ‘ I had a marvelous time. I learnt to ski. I learnt to ice skate and

Between you and me

I ain’t a virgin any longer.’

‘Oh my dear Girl’ he said.
‘To think that we have spent all this money on you and you STILL say “Ain’t!”‘

Out of the mouths of children…

This little gem came from Ann’s godmother, Helen Barlow

“A mother and her pretty daughter, about 4 I guess, got on the bus and sat down opposite me.  The mother said “I don’t know what to do with Mary – she is so shy”.

And indeed the little girl kept her head buried in her mother’s skirt and any words from me only made her burrow deeper.

Later on two nuns got on the bus and like me aimed a few friendly words at the little girl.  The effect was instantaneous and surprising as in a matter of moments they were in deep conversation.  A bit later the nuns got off.  Mary’s mother turned to her daughter saying “It was lovely to see you talking to those ladies”, only to be rebuffed strongly by the child.

“They wasn’t ladies, mummy, they was penguins”

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