Fringe Box



Full Congregation Celebrates the Life of Much Loved Local Politician

Published on: 18 Apr, 2015
Updated on: 23 Apr, 2015
Hon Freeman David Watts addresses a full congregation for Doreen Bellerby's memorial service at Holy Trinity church.

Hon Freeman David Watts addresses a full congregation for Doreen Bellerby’s memorial service at Holy Trinity church.

The life of Doreen Bellerby, Hon Freeman of Guildford, was celebrated at Holy Trinity church on Thursday with many of Guildford’s civic leaders forming part of a full congregation of around 200.

Her husband and fellow Hon Freeman, 98-year-old Bill Bellerby, was in attendance to hear eulogies from former borough council chief executive, David Watts, Hon Alderman Mary Lloyd-Jones, charity campaigners Shirley West and Tony Gorham and nephew Andrew Keener.

Guildford’s MP Anne Milton and the Mayor, Cllr David Elms read lessons and former shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry, who attended Guildford C of E School in Bellfields, was in the congregation.

Doreen Bellerby - Order of Memorial ServiceSummarising her political career, David Watts said of the 95-year-old: “Doreen had an almost unsurpassed record of service to Guildford and Surrey. She was a councillor for Westborough for 41 years, a county councillor for 20 years and a leader of the Labour group on that council for a large part of those 20 years.

“She was Mayor of Guildford in 1991-1992; was involved in dozens of voluntary and charitable and arts bodies; was awarded the MBE in 1991 and was given an honourary degree by Surrey University. With Bill she was made a freeman of the borough in 1995 for their long and devoted public service….

“It is impossible to do justice to somebody who led such a full life and did so much – mostly for other people – over so many years. She and Bill had a blissful [74 year] marriage and although Doreen was very much her own person – he was her rock…

“Doreen was a very special lady. She will be long remembered and sorely missed by so many. May she rest in God’s peace.”

Shirley West recalled childhood memories of being taken outside by her mother to see Doreen campaigning from the back of a lorry in Drummond Road and how, years later, she had helped with Shirley’s British Heart Foundation fundraising. She touchingly concluded that over all those years she: “…grew to love Doreen very much.”

After the service a reception was held at the Guildhall and those present heard Bill Bellerby recount how he and Doreen had enjoyed reading poetry to each other. He continued to impress his audience by quoting from a considerable selection of Doreen’s favourites without the assistance of notes.

He went on to thank all for coming to the service and the support he and Doreen had received, concluding: “One of the things which made us decide to stay and live in Guildford after coming from South Wales… was the people themselves who are great and made sure we had all we wanted for the entire time we lived here. Thank you.”

Photo of Bill and Doreen Bellerby taken from the back cover of the order of service.

Bill and Doreen Bellerby (taken from the back cover of the order of service).

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Responses to Full Congregation Celebrates the Life of Much Loved Local Politician

  1. Shirley West Reply

    April 18, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I know that Bill Bellerby was overwhelmed on Thursday at Doreen’s Memorial Service. He told me he was so proud of her.

    Bill stood at the entrance of the church doors and thanked everyone who came. He is such an amazing man and I am so proud to call him my very special friend.

  2. Pauline Searle Reply

    April 19, 2015 at 9:43 am

    It was a wonderful service for a wonderful lady.

    For all of us that were lucky enough to know Doreen, she was a joy with a great sense of humour and always determined to do what she thought was right. We should all aspire to be like her.

    Guildford is a better place for having had a couple like Bill and Doreen Bellerby as a strong part of our community over many years.

    Her memory will live on and on.

    Pauline Searle is a former Mayor of Guildford and a Lib Dem councillor for Stoughton ward.

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