Fringe Box



Time For A Statue To Honour The Bellerbys? Public Support Gathers Pace

Published on: 23 Sep, 2017
Updated on: 23 Sep, 2017

Within the many tributes that have been expressed this week following the death of Honorary Freeman Bill Bellerby MBE, there are have been calls for a statute to be placed in Guildford to remember him and his wife Doreen.

Doreen and Bill Bellerby. There are calls for a statue to honour them.

Bill, affectioned known as ‘Mr Guildford’ was in his 101st year, while Doreen died aged 95 in 2015. They were married for 74 years.

Many people including a former editor of The Surrey Advertiser, have commented on their exemplary qualities and the help they directly received from the Bellerbys in their role as Guildford Borough and Surrey County Council councillors.

They are also fondly remembered for wholeheartedly supporting an incredible range of local arts groups and organisations, community schemes, sports clubs, charities and so on.

As well as local media, including The Dragon, social media has also been awash with people paying tribute to the Bellerbys.

Ben Darnton, of Guildford Collectors Records, on his Facebook page Guildford Past & Present was one of the first to call for a statute to the Bellerbys.

Some of the replies he received included: “I agree a statue should be erected. They were an amazing and kind couple. He and his wife did a lot for both Guildford and community.” “A great couple, together they did so much for our town – they deserve to be remembered.” “I totally agree! Let’s get this started!”

Guildford has a good selection of public art that includes statues. So for that reason, perhaps one to the Bellerbys can be achieved.

Would this be a good site at Millmead for a statute to Bill and Doreen Bellerby?

But where could it best be sited?

One suggestion is on the grass area beside Millmead Lock. Sited there it would be a link to the Bellerbys’ love of the arts – adjacent to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, and close to the current offices of Guildford Borough Council. Bill served on the council for 42 years and Doreen for 41 years.

The site is passed by thousands of locals and visitors heading into town or to the theatre and by councillors and members of the public going to and from the council offices. It is also on the river towpath and would be passed by those keen on country walks, as Bill and Doreen were.

If you have some thoughts and ideas, and also suggestions on funding, please leave a reply in the box below.

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Responses to Time For A Statue To Honour The Bellerbys? Public Support Gathers Pace

  1. Jan Messinger Reply

    September 23, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    What a lovely idea. Let’s hope it happens. A fitting tribute.

  2. Shirley West Reply

    September 23, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    I am really for this idea. Well done Ben Darnton for the suggestion.

    Also, I would like to see the Guildhall open for Guildford people to go to to sign a book in memory of Bill and Doreen.

    Maybe on the days when the Farmers’ Market takes place and the High Street is busy with visitors.

  3. Brian Holt Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I would like the statue to be in a popular area in the town centre because I wonder how many residents of Guildford have ever been down to Millmead Lock area. I think many of the older residents would never see it.

    What about in the High Street near Marks & Spencer store?

  4. Maddie Sturgess Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    I am all in favour of honouring our great Guildford citizens. However, I have reservations about a statue.

    I have seen many works of public art neglected with the passing of the years.

    One prime example is the art sculpture in the Wickes store’s car park now sadly neglected and overgrown.

    I think that it would be more fitting if say the Electric Theatre or another arts building was renamed after them.

  5. Gerri Smyth Reply

    September 24, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment expressed here and elsewhere and the idea for a possible site.

    Something inspirational made of local materials by a local artist maybe?

    It might be easier decision-wise to get it sited on GBC land rather than National Trust [the riverside at Millmead] but I assume the Mead proper next to the towpath is the boundary. Or have I got that wrong?

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