‘One of the most caring people’: Sadness as community stalwart Beverly, 77, dies

Tributes have been paid to Sudbury stalwart Beverly Richardson. Picture: COURTESY OF FAMILY

Tributes have been paid to Sudbury stalwart Beverly Richardson. Picture: COURTESY OF FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to much-loved great-grandmother and Sudbury stalwart Beverly Ann Richardson, who has died aged 77.

Mrs Richardson led a varied and fulfilling life after attending school in Suffolk, starting work as a junior pathology technician at West Suffolk Hospital before going on to own a dress shop and serve as director of a building firm with her husband Philip, as well as raising a family.

In later life, she even learned to walk and talk again through sheer “perseverance and determination” after being involved in a car crash with an ambulance outside her home in 2012, which left her with severe multiple injuries.

To many, she was best known as a lynchpin in the Sudbury community - playing a key role at St John’s Methodist Church for more than 50 years, organising community events and raising valuable funds for neighbourhood projects.

Relatives paid tribute to her as someone with a “strong sense of service and duty”, with son-in-law John Wiseman saying: “Beverly was one of the most caring people I ever met.

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“She immediately welcomed me into the family and has given me much sage advice and love over the years.

“She was always a trusted confidante to me and to others and has always been there with help and guidance whenever needed.

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“I have often spent time sitting with her if Philip was unable and we spoke about everything you could imagine. She was the most brilliant company and I will miss her greatly.”

Mrs Richardson was born on July 9 1942 at Cook’s Hall Cottages, in West Bergholt.

She attended primary school at Denston, before going to the County Grammar School in Bury St Edmunds.

It was while travelling to school on the bus in 1957 that she met her future husband Philip, who was at the time a pupil at the King Edward VI Grammar School.

They married on January 18 1964 at the Congregational Church in Wickhambrook and enjoyed a honeymoon in Paris, where they saw the Beatles play to a half-full auditorium.

After working at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, Mrs Richardson worked as a cancer researcher at University College Hospital in London before moving back to Suffolk to settle in Sudbury.

Relatives described it as a “town she loved” and after the birth of her daughter Sally, in 1965, and son Tim, in August 1967, she opened Thomasina in the 1970s - a shop selling ladies fashion clothing and accessories in Gainsborough Street.

With her organisational acumen, she became a director of Suffex Build with her husband in the 1980s – undertaking project design and management for more than 20 years.

Her favourite projects included the construction of Christopher Court and Globe Yard in Sudbury, a holiday cottage for people with disabilities, in East Harling, for the Lin Berwick charity and The Christopher Centre refurbishment project.

Yet she also enjoyed an active life outside of work - and, as a steward for St John’s Methodist Church, she was the influencing force in raising funds to build a new community hall that is still used today.

Family said that “raising charity funds was something she loved to do with her organisational skills”, with her achievements including raising money for a new scout headquarters and organising Sudbury’s Silver Jubilee and Millennium celebrations.

She was also a member of Sudbury’s Ladies Circle and, after her car accident, she managed to walk a six-mile Good Friday Fun Run course to raise cash for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

“She took her responsibilities very seriously and was always willing and available to help others,” said Paul Martland, a friend of the family and church member.

“Beverly always did a sterling job and got involved in most things, from helping out with the computer systems to arranging the flowers and putting up the weekly notices.

“She was also a wonderful mother and wife and will be sorely missed.”

She moved into Melford Court Nursing Home on March 2 this year after developing a heart condition in the past few years.

However she had been able to enjoy getting out and about until recently, taking much joy from the support she received from the family and particularly grandson Luke, granddaughters Amber, Becky and Faye, and great grandsons Arthur and Joshua.

She died peacefully on Friday, March 27, having been visited by her children the day before.

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