‘Well-respected and much loved, Bill will never be forgotten’
Heartfelt tributes pour in for ‘Mr Guildford’ who has died, aged 100
Minister James Callaghan, who said: “The name of Bellerby is a famous one in Guildford Labour circles and in the national Labour movement.”
Together with his late wife Doreen, who died in 2015, he was awarded the MBE in 1991 in recognition of his services to the community. In the same year, they were both awarded Honorary Degrees by the University of Surrey.
A keen walker and cyclist in his spare time, Bill took a particularly keen and active interest in the arts, activities for young people and disabled groups.
He was closely associated with numerous arts organisations including the South East Arts Executive, the Guildford Amateur Theatre Association, the Herald Players, Guildford Symphony Orchestra, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford Arts Council, the Book Festival, the South East Music Trust and the Guildford Philharmonic Society.
His campaigning also led to the opening of the town’s first permanent venue for amateur performing groups at the Electric Theatre in 1997.
The former Bellerby Theatre was named after him and wife Doreen. In 2014, as recognition of their support to the local arts scene for more than 50 years, G Live renamed its studio space The Bellerby Studio.
Guildford MP Anne Milton, who was present to celebrate the Alderman’s 100th birthday with him in March, said: “A very sad day for us all in Guildford.
“Bill was a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life.
“He was loved by all and everyone – you could not meet a man with a larger heart or more generous soul.
“There are no words that can adequately describe how much we will all miss him. I feel extremely privileged to have known Bill but thankful he died as he lived – at peace in his home.”
Guildford Borough Council leader, Cllr Paul Spooner said: “Bill Bellerby did so much for the people of our borough.
“Known as ‘Mr Guildford’ he was a true community politician, and dedicated his support to local campaigns for Guildford arts groups and worked tirelessly for young people and the disabled.
“Well-respected and much loved, he will be remembered for his fantastic contribution to the borough. Rest in peace Bill, you will never be forgotten.”
Cllr Spooner also tweeted to say municipal flags would fly at half mast on Wednesday (September 20) in memory of Mr Bellerby.
Cllr Caroline Reeves, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group , said: “The sad news of Bill Bellerby’s death at the grand age of 100 reminds us of what an amazing man he was, a real man of the people of Guildford and a great example of service in public office.
“He and his wife Doreen both worked tirelessly for the best for their residents, always with plenty of humour and grace. Bill will be long remembered with much affection by all.”
Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Angela Gunning said: “Bill’s selfless commitment to achieve the best for his fellow residents in Guildford was an example to us all. The Labour Party is honoured to have had Bill as a colleague.
“We will miss his delightful wit and skill as a raconteur – as well as his achievements in a very long political life in Guildford.”
Andrew Morgan at the Boultby Academy open day at Goodwood in the summer of 2012