Fringe Box



What A Swell Party It Was To Celebrate Bill Bellerby’s 100th Birthday

Published on: 5 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 6 Mar, 2017

Guildford freeman Bill Bellerby MBE was honoured at a superb party to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Honorary freeman of the borough of Guildford Bill Bellerby MBE pictured at the party to celebrate his 100th birthday. He is pictured with Anne Milton MP and former Guildford Borough Council chief executive David Watts.

Attended by his many friends, also present was Guildford MP Anne Milton; the Mayor of Guildford, Gordon Jackson and his wife Sue; serving and former councillors and council officers.

Held at the Park Barn Centre on Sunday, March 5, 100 people enjoyed sandwiches, tea and cakes, and were entertained by talented local performers who sang a wide range of songs.

Bill Bellerby enjoyed the party in his honour at the Park Barn Centre on Sunday, March 5.

Soloist Rita Rowland.

These included the Park Barn-based Rhythm of Life community choir, singers from Guildford Opera Company, and soloists Rita Rowland and Rowland Sidwell.

A lovely birthday cake baked by Kathy Burrowes was in the shape of school books, in recognition of Bill’s career as a teacher.

Others who baked cakes for the birthday tea included Cllr Marsha Moseley and Pat Tilly, while Alan and Sharon Gunner and their family prepared the sandwiches.

Bill Bellerby with his birthday cake. Shirley West is standing in the background (yellow jacket) and with her is her niece Kathy Burrowes.

Bill, who clearly enjoyed the afternoon, gave a speech in which he referred to his upbringing in South Wales and the loss of his parents when he was quite young. However, he said that he has enjoyed his life so much in Guildford, adding that his late wife Doreen had the same. He thanked everyone for being their friends over many years.

The party was organised by Shirley West, a long time friend of Bill and Doreen.

Shirley said: “I would like to thank everyone who helped organise the party and those who did so much on the day. I must mention Noreina King and Tony Gorham; and also Doreen Smith who arranged the flowers, and my husband Brian for his support.

Soloist Rowland Sidwell.

“The most special moment was when Rowland Sidwell sang the Welsh National Anthem, and Bill sang along with every word.”

Shirley also sings in the Rhythm of Life choir. They also lined up with members of the Guildford Opera Company and gave Bill a standing ovation when he arrived at the party.

As well as their performance the choir also led the singing of We’ll Meet Again later in the afternoon.

Members of the Rhythm of Life community choir lead the singing of We’ll Meet Again.

A donation from Guildford Rotary Club helped make the party possible. A collection was made for a special birthday present for Bill. It will be a new garden bench for him to sit on in his garden. It will feature a plaque in memory of Doreen while also marking his special birthday.

Bill Bellerby’s 100th birthday is next Monday, March 13. He was a Labour borough councillor and county councillor for Guildford’s Stoke ward for many years. He was Mayor of Guildford from 1972-74. Prior to becoming an honorary freeman in 1995 he was an alderman.

He and his wife Doreen were married for 74 years. She was also a dedicated local Labour borough and county councillor and was also an honorary freeman of the borough of Guildford.

During the Second World War, Bill joined the Queen’s Regiment and came to its depot, Stoughton Barracks. At one point he wrote to Doreen back home in South Wales requesting his dancing shoes to be sent up to him. Doreen came and delivered them personally and they stayed in Guildford together thereafter.

The former Bellerby Theatre was named after them; and in 2014, as recognition of their support to the local arts scene for over 50 years, G Live renamed its studio space The Bellerby Studio.

There are more celebrations coming up to mark Bill’s 100th birthday.

The Mayor of Guildford’s Variety Show on Saturday, March 12, is in Bill’s honour, while the Guildford Labour Party will be hosting a tribute to him on March 26.


Share This Post

Responses to What A Swell Party It Was To Celebrate Bill Bellerby’s 100th Birthday

  1. Peta Malthouse Reply

    March 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    What can you say? I was fortunate to work for GBC’s Housing Department at the time Bill was Mayor. He used to visit very regularly to enquire after his constituents position for housing.

    Always a gentleman, he had great ideas that made you feel you were in partnership with him rather than singled out for criticism. He and Doreen achieved so much for Guildford and for each and every person who they tried to help.

  2. Ian Davies Reply

    March 8, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Great to see Bill honoured on his 100th. He has done and meant so much to many Guildford families. Someone that you can truly respect. Thank you Mr B!

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *