Beryl Russell

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Our group were all very sad to hear of the passing of Beryl on 10th September.  She and Dave have been stalwarts of the group for decades and she will be greatly missed.  We pass our sincere condolences to Dave but look forward to riding with him for many years to come.

Beryl’s funeral yesterday was attended by perhaps 130 people, a large number of whom were cyclists or ex-cyclists.  About 35 riders followed the hearse in a cortege to the crematorium.  The following is the Eulogy prepared by Dave for the funeral service.


“Beryl was born on 9th August 1936 at Hempstead near Saffron Walden, in a heat wave which her Mum often told her about with the comment “Oh how I sweated for you Beryl”.

The family soon moved to Danbury to live in Nursery Cottages, where Beryl lived before marrying.  She was the middle one of three sisters and she always said, she drew the short straw.  Because “she was bossed about by the eldest and the youngest one got all the attention” but she always laughed when she said it.

A scar on her knee was the result of her early trips to the shops on her Mums “Roadster” bike.  Standing on the pedals and not being tall enough to sit on the saddle, then getting knocked off by a car.

She told many stories of Maldon Secondary school, not all good.  But she went to classes to learn shorthand and typing and got a job in Marconi’s in New Street.  Sheila Scragg also worked at Marconi’s and she and Beryl became firm friends. There was a mutual interest in cycling, helped by Beryl’s Dad buying her an “All steel” Raleigh Sports model with single freewheel.

Cycling with Chelmsford C.T.C was the start of a wonderful hobby and way of life.

Around this time, David joined the C.T.C. and Beryl knew him as the boy with “Picallili” sandwiches for lunch. These were always eaten in the pub in those days.  Pubs only had crisps and large arrowroot biscuits. These were fed by the customers to their dogs!

Soon Beryl and Dave were cycling together, going to many of the hostels in reach of a day’s cycling to: Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridge.  Also every advantage was taken of Bank Holidays and “Works Holiday Week”.

Beryl and Dave married in May 1960 and lived in Manor Road Chelmsford at a rent of 25 shillings a week or £1.25 in today’s money. They took the house over from Jim and Doris Sibthorpe as they had put a good word in with the landlord.

In 1961 Dave bought a Mini Van and after a notorious winter hostel trip with the club to Rutland, complete with snow and bitter cold weather, they withdrew from cycling.  Several friends also left or moved away.

In 1964 after much overtime at Hoffmanns and much hard saving, they bought the bungalow in Willow Crescent Hatfield Peveral.

In 1965 a daughter, Jackie was born, but unfortunately she had severe Spina Bifida and was paralysed from the waist down. Beryl was devoted to Jackie and never wavered from the loving care she gave her for the 14 years of her life.  Jackie died in 1979.

Now holidays didn’t seem the same, so David bought a bike and a holiday in the New Forest area, both “Awheel” together again was a delight and a new beginning. They re-joined the C.T.C enjoying the club runs and begun going on organised holidays, such as “The birthday rides”.

Becoming friends with Eric and Ethel, they joined them on some C.T.C tours abroad, clocking up many trips with Greta and John Lumbers on their tours. They were wonderful years and the last four trips were winter holidays in Spain, again with John and Greta two years ago.

When David had a bad accident, he was in hospital for two months and Beryl gave him every support, visiting by bus and bike on every day of his stay.  She also had friends who would take her to visit sometimes, which was much appreciated.

In the last years Beryl rode with a slower group and enjoyed meeting Margaret Davies for “elevenses”, before joining Reg’s group at lunch.

She also enjoyed the produce from the allotment, making lots of jam and filling the freezer with fruit and veg.

She admired her nephews and nieces and the teenagers that they had become and of course those that are now older and independent.

She had no warning of her impending illness before the 1st August and tests soon showed that there was no magic cure and she moved from Broomfield Hospital to Farleigh Hospice and died there on 10th September.

The response from relatives, friends and the C.T.C. and 40 + clubs has been something David will remember for the rest of his life and a fitting tribute to Beryl.

May she rest in peace”

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