‘Well-re­spected and much loved, Bill will never be for­got­ten’

Heart­felt tributes pour in for ‘Mr Guild­ford’ who has died, aged 100

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

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

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