Welcome to the page that provides family history, information, photographs and stories from various branches of Wappetts around the world. Please send contributions to contributions@wappat.co.uk, and if you are half thinking about sending something, do so anyway! This will only work if lots of people send even a little each! We have a scanner, so can scan photos for you (and return the originals of course). Last updated: 29July2002

This branch arrived in Bury St.Edmunds when William Wappett (1927) of Thornaby, Teesside moved there and married Pamela Beeton.

William's father was Thomas (1888) of Appleby. The line continues back as Thomas (1859) of St. Lawrence Appleby, Christopher (1819) of St.Mary's Appleby, Richard (1780) of Kirkby Stephen and Robert (c.1750) of Brough(?).

25th July 2002
I first met my husband Bill in 1950. He was stationed in Bury St Edmunds with his regiment The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers ready to go to Korea. I was only 16 years old and had been to the pictures with my friend. He was just coming out of The Wine Vaults. We got talking and he walked me home.

We met again two or three days later and again he walked me home. I told him that I went to the Red Cross and that I hoped one day to be a nurse. When I came out one day he was waiting for me and we went for a walk. He told me he was leaving the next day to go to Korea and asked me if I would write to him. I agreed.

We exchanged letters until just before Christmas 1951. Then I didn't hear from him so I found myself checking the Korea Casualty List in the papers, thinking that the worse had happened. Then in January 1952 I got a letter from Catterick Hospital to say that Bill had been very ill and they had had to fly him home. Bill's mother had been informed but of course I hadn't. We began to exchange letters again until February 1952 when he was discharged from hospital. He came to see me in Bury St Edmunds for a long weekend. On the Saturday we went to Ipswich and there he bought me an engagement ring and we made plans to marry in the Summer.

The next time we met was in the March when Bill came down to a friend's wedding where I was to be bridesmaid. I went home with him to Yorkshire to meet his family and we planned our wedding for July 26th 1952.

So the year Queen Elizabeth II took the throne turned out to be a very memorable year for me also.
We had arranged our wedding for July 26th and our honeymoon was set to be something out of this world.

Whilst my husband was in Korea he was a Stretcher Bearer and he was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery in going up to the front line and bringing back the wounded men. He was to be awarded his medal by our new Queen.
Indeed, we were married on 26th July 1952 and the investiture was to be at Buckingham Palace on 29th July 1952. We went to Kent for our honeymoon so we were near London for our special day.
On the 29th July we went by train to London. There we had to show our tickets before being taken into Buckingham Palace. We were separated inside; my husband was taken to stand with all the other people who were there to receive medals. I was ushered into another room. I was a very shy, 18 year old young girl and I felt so alone but was taken under the wing of a very elderly lady who took me to sit by her. I was very grateful.

When the Queen came on to the stage I was very surprised to see how small she was. I felt very proud when she pinned the medal on to my husband's chest.
About two hours later my husband and I met up again and made our way back to the railway station to come back to Bury St Edmunds.

A lot has happened in the 50 years since then. My husband and I have four children, sixteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild. We are now looking forward to our own Jubilee - 50 years of marriage - on July 26th 2002.

By Pamela Wappett

Pamela and William(Bill) Wappett

William's first son Billy has an excellent  web site at www.fightingfit.uk.com that explains his career in martial arts, and many of his children have followed on in his footsteps. The total number of "Dan" Black Belts in the family must be into the twenties! A visit to the site is strongly recommended!

We found this article by Michelle Wappett (Billy's wife) at the National Register of Martial Arts Instructors (NRMAI) WebSite at www.nrmai.co.uk.

Pregnancy & Martial Arts.

Michelle's story

I took up Tae-Kwon-Do and Kickboxing in 1990 at my husband, 4th Dan Black Belt Billy Wappett's club "Fighting Fit" and in April 1995, after five years of extremely hard work, I took my 1st Dan Black Belt. My fitness and strength levels were at that time at their very peak. The grading itself lasted eight non-stop hours and was pre-fixed by a 15 mile run. Little did I know that exactly one year later I would be in labour with my first child!

Michelle training at 8 months pregnant

Michelle and Billy Wappett's wedding February 1996

I managed to continue my martial arts and fitness training throughout my pregnancy - obviously omitting some unsuitable activities such as hard contact sparring and throws, etc. and adapting others. I even managed to continue wearing my white suit throughout although my black belt did appear to get "shorter" as the pregnancy went on!
I was still teaching and training just four days before our daughter, Ellen Elizabeth Wappett, was born on 8th April 1996 weighing a healthy 7lb 5½ozs. At the hospital there were several comments about strong pelvic floor muscles and the mid-wives remarked that they had never seen a heavily pregnant woman fall to and rise from a full squat quite so many times with so much ease!

My labour was relatively easy - I would go so far as to say I enjoyed the whole day! Within twenty-four hours I was busying about in the hospital and I went home in my jeans!I resumed my martial arts and fitness training less than two weeks later and was pleased to regain my pre-pregnancy weight, slight at less than 8 stone, within a matter of weeks. I also managed to breast-feed Ellen for her first six months of life though must admit that too much jumping about was sometimes painful - a good quality supportive sports bra is an absolute must!

Ellen, Ruby and Michelle Wappett.

Hailey, William and Louise Wappett 1996

Less than a year after having Ellen I completed another 15 mile run as part of the syllabus for my 2nd Dan Black Belt. I endured yet another gruelling eight hour grading and was honoured to receive my next grade.

The above scenario was repeated within the year that followed. James William Edward Wappett arrived on 14th March 1998, a fair sized lad at 8lb 1oz. The labour lasted just four hours from start to finish - this time I was training at the club just twenty-four hours earlier!

Again I was back at the club within a couple of weeks, my troop in tow, and was soon back into shape. I say back into shape - with both pregnancies I had very small, neat bumps and never suffered with the swollen ankles or back problems, varicose veins, high blood pressure or stretch marks that are often associated with being pregnant. Heartburn was my only downfall but huge quantities of Gaviscon kept this at bay!

Stephen, Carol, Billy, Michelle, Tommy and William Wappett

William and Pamela Wappett

In March of this year I completed a ten mile run, an annual event held by my club. In early May I discovered I was pregnant for the third time - I was actually pregnant at the time I did the run! This baby is due on Christmas Eve and so far I have kept up my training. Donning my husband's elastic-waisted kickboxing trousers in place of my usual whites, and armed with my huge bottle of Gaviscon, I attend classes twice a week to help teach junior students and to train myself. I have even continued to perform hard contact fighting forms at various self-defence demonstrations at fetes and shows in my pregnant state. I am not sure whether the spectators actually realised I was pregnant or just thought I was a little on the portly side!

I firmly believe that my martial arts training, where a lot of emphasis has always been placed on fitness, has helped me no end through three healthy pregnancies. Whilst I would never recommend any woman take up martial arts whilst pregnant, the benefits to be reaped for those who are accustomed to rigorous training sessions are enormous, providing of course a little common sense is used..Stretching exercises have helped me maintain significant flexibility (although somewhat limited around the waist!) and the breathing exercises definitely come in very handy!

Mrs Michelle Wappett

Anyone interested in Tae-Kwon-Do and/or Kickboxing can contact the NRMAI for further details.

More contributions from around the World would be greatly appreciated!
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James William Edward Wappett

William John Wappett