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Charles Ley Court, Fawley Village
the man behind the name
Terri and Sveta [email protected]
[email protected]

I expect like many other residents,, Sveta and I have wondered who Charles Ley was. Naturally I asked the then Court Manager, Sue Harvey nee' Sutherland (1940-2013), who thought he was something to do with the Royal British Legion in Blackfield. Enquiring at the local club, I discovered and met his daughter Betty Locke, who allowed Sveta and I to peruse and copy the Charles Ley Memorabilia Collection. Copies are available for a donation to the British Legion Fawley, from Terri & Sveta @ 17. Our search has taken us to Portland, Weymouth. Bridport, Exeter, Bristol and Gloucester Record Office. What we hope to do, this year is to publish on the internet and self-print a small more detailed booklet of this ‘local hero’ of Fawley Parish.
On the 18th March 1902, Charles was born to Frank and Martha Ley in London, though records show they were domiciled in Bristol. Charles school certificate shows he attended the Hannah Moore School until 1916 and lived at 2 Churchill Place, Castle Street in the Bristol City Centre. Charles is recorded as working as a clerk and warehouseman before joining the Gloucester Regiment in 1919.
Charles served nine years with the colours, of which seven months were served in Germany, for which he received a General Service Medal. Charles left the colours at Portland with an exemplary certificate of character and started work in Weymouth for Cosen & Co on the 'SS Alexandra' and then later for the Great Western Railway, Marine Division.
In 1929 Charles moved to Bridport Workhouse as Labour Master and Porter and in 1931 moved to the Ashurst Workhouse where he met his future wife, a nurse at the workhouse, in 1934 Charles and his wife Ivy moved back to the Bristol Area.
Early in 1939, with the WW2 starting in Europe, Charles prudently loaded his family into his car and moved down to the Waterside, to avoid the foreseen Bristol Blitz. Betty Locke recalled a story from her mother. Driving through Marchwood, Charles saw a dilapidated, empty house just past the White Horse PH, he stopped and enquired of the neighbour's as to the owner. Charles found the owner and made an arrangement to live rent free, in return for refurbishing the property, until he found employment..
When the war started Charles was recalled to the colours to serve with the Fawley (Forest) Battalion, Home Guard at Hythe, where he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and was secretary to their social club and a member of the Fawley and Exbury Defence Committee.
The Court is named after Charles Ley, who joined Fawley British Legion in 1934 and has served as President, Chairman and secretary for many years and was a member of the benevolent committee. He was awarded a Gold Medal and a lifetime membership for services rendered. Charles was also an active member of the Blackfield & Langley Juniors Football Club and the Langley Lions Cycle Speedway team.
A 'local hero' who has been honored in many ways during his lifetime and remembered in the anniversary celebration by the residents of the Court on several occasions. Most notably on the 30th anniversary of the opening of Charles Ley Court, with a specially decorated cake. -click to start typing

           Charles Ley Court 
and the man behind the name

Click here to edit subtitle

Local Exchange Trading Schemes

LETS Changed My Life
by James Taris
Article for New Community Quarterly (Australia) ... May 2003 issue

Once you've grasped the LETS philosophy, then trading in LETS points becomes an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

My LETS philosophy is, "Don't think of LETS points as dollars. Think of them as favours".

LETS, or Local Exchange Trading Systems, are local community trading groups where members exchange their goods and services with each other in a spirit of harmony and a genuine desire to help each other.

The LETS group's function is to act as a bookkeeper for the members' transactions, keeping record of these 'favours' (also called 'beans', 'auras', 'shells', 'talents', thank yous', etc.) and putting the members' accounts into debit or credit accordingly. An account which is in credit identifies a member who has given more favours than he's received. An account which is in debit identifies a member who has received more favours than he's given. As there is no interest paid to accounts in credit, and no interest charged to accounts in debit, neither situation is a problem, and both are necessary in order to make transactions happen.

I've been involved with LETS since 1994, and once I understood and accepted the principle of give-and-take with my fellow LETS group members, I quickly noticed a sharp rise in the quality of my lifestyle.

Having a limited income meant that I could only afford to pay for the essentials in my life: rent, gas, electricity, phone, petrol, food, clothes, and so on. Everything else became a luxury, which I either did without, or chose to do myself.

But that all changed with LETS, because I found that I could at last enjoy some of these luxuries by offering a range of goods and services through my LETS group. Very soon I was mowing lawns, removing rubbish and painting rooms. Later on I was also designing business cards, brochures and newsletters. And I even traded tiny picture frames, small bookcases and kitchenware.

In return I received massages, piano tuition and restaurant meals. Computer support, computer software and web design services. Greeting cards, teddy bears and bonsai plants. All of these goods and services would've been reluctantly by-passed if I had to pay cash for them. Thankfully, LETS made them all possible.

However, problems can emerge when members allow their accounts to go into debit rapidly. Often LETS groups place a maximum debit limit on their members' accounts to keep this in check, and encourage them to take appropriate steps to reduce their debit level as soon as possible. This can be achieved in several ways: by increasing the number of goods and services they are offering; by volunteering to supply goods and services promoted in the Wanted section of the LETS newsletter; by promoting themselves as Keen Traders in the LETS newsletter; by bringing goods to trade at the monthly Trading Day Markets; by accepting requests to trade whenever asked.

But trading isn't the only way that members benefit. That's only part of what LETS is all about. Just as important is the role it plays in developing the skills of its members.

When I asked to be involved with producing the newsletter for my LETS group, I didn't even know that Publishing software existed, let alone how to use it. LETS gave me the opportunity to learn those skills whereas I would never have been given the same opportunity in the cash economy. And eventually that experience improved my skills to such a high level that I began to earn cash outside the LETS system. Because of LETS, I'd managed to build my skills adequately enough to become a professional Desktop Publisher.

In October 2001, I took my involvement with LETS to a much higher level. I founded the web site which is an international LETS directory. And it's since grown to 80 pages featuring over 1,500 LETS and Community Currency groups from 39 countries on every continent in the world. It also has links to over 100 web sites which have information on LETS, the money system or community currencies.

This was purely a labour of love, and little did I know that it would be the catalyst I needed to undertake one of the greatest international exchange ventures ever attempted through LETS. My book, Global Quest For Local LETS (on, is a collection of my travel experiences in 2002 through 8 countries (England, Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, South Africa and Japan) trading my speaking services in exchange for accommodation, meals, local transport and computer use.

My involvement and interaction with these LETS groups differed with every country I visited.

In Bristol (England) I got my hands dirty helping a LETS member renovate his house. In exchange I was given the use of a bicycle for the week I was there. In order to process my transactions, a temporary account was opened and all transactions put through it. After all entries were made, the final balance on my account was zero and my account was closed. So all members involved in my transactions were properly rewarded.

In Erlangen (Germany) I spent a couple of days with Gunter Koch, founder of Goldring. He had developed a unique trading system which even rewarded members who didn't, or couldn't, trade with other members (non-producers) . and he paid them all a monthly amount in real gold! I offered my services as an editor for his Goldring presentation (English translation) and was given a 5gm gold ingot in exchange.

In Amsterdam (Holland) I met with representatives from all 120 LETS groups in the country. Their largest group, Noppes, had 950 members! And we exchanged ideas on how to attract food suppliers, or supplies, into their LETS groups. In Cape Town (South Africa) I was involved with launching LETS into the country. No groups existed there at that time, but within 5 days several people had taken steps to making LETS groups in Cape Town a reality. The focus being very much on establishing LETS groups in the poor black populated areas of the city.

In Fukuoka (Japan) I met with City Council representatives and Mr. Idemitsu, director of IDEX Petroleum, one of the 10 largest companies on Kyushu Island, to discuss ways of introducing a community currency system into their city. I also met with struggling LETS groups around the island, and in Kagoshima, I gave an 'Introduction To LETS' presentation to 2,000 locals at their annual Harvest Day Festival.

But it's the 'LETS family' factor that made such a massive venture possible. My objective was to travel the world sharing my LETS philosophy and highlighting the benefits of trading through LETS. I'm passionate about LETS and my belief in the system is unwavering. My LETS hosts around the world knew that I was genuine about my desire to help them, my LETS family circle, and they responded willingly with my travel requirements. When it came to speaking about LETS, I would speak with anyone at any time. I didn't hold back my services and I found my hosts didn't hold back theirs. We traded with a community spirit, so it was harmonious, unlike the cash economy which is purely profit motivated.

So just to summarise .

LETS points should be thought of as favours, not dollars.
LETS trading should be performed with a community spirit, rather than being profit motivated.
LETS is the perfect way to improve your lifestyle by providing luxury goods and services.
LETS groups can help members reduce large debit balances.
LETS offers members opportunities to learn, improve or perfect skills.
LETS can be used internationally if you're genuine about helping
LETS members, and accept visiting places where you're invited, rather than places you specifically want to go.

Happy trading,

James Taris

 For further Information

LETS LINK UP International


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