Abundant flowers decorated Congresbury Methodist Church for the Thanksgiving service of Betty Sutton, on March 6th, reflecting that many of her 90 years of life, centred on flowers.
Born in Oldmixon, Betty attended Hutton village school, and then moved to Weston-super-Mare, where she was a Girl Guide and joined the Red Cross. She met her husband Derrick at a village dance when he was stationed at R.A.F. Locking. Aged 16, she moved to London and worked as a Red Cross nurse in the Soho Women’s Hospital, before returning to the West Country to train as a State Registered nurse at Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Betty and Derrick married in 1950 in Ilford, Essex, setting up home in Danbury, Essex, where Nicola was born and Derrick managed a nursery.
In the late 1950s, they moved to Somerset, and bought Middlecombe Nursery in Congresbury in the 60’s. They both worked together growing beans, lettuce and flowers and joined the local Methodist church.
For the first few years they lived in a caravan at the nursery.
Betty kept the business going when Derrick was in hospital with T.B., showing her strength of character by keeping Derrick’s gun under the bed and cartridges above, but not knowing how to put them together!
The nursery expanded into growing daffodils, tulips, dahlias and chrysanthemum blooms, and the kettle was always on to make visitors welcome.
Betty’s many hobbies included dressmaking for the family, upholstery, gardening and the W.I., and subsequently as a member of the Over 60s, enjoying their day trips.
A party in the greenhouse at Middlecombe in 1988 marked their retirement, and they moved to Park Road in the village.
Following her parents in the floral trade, Nicola opened a flower shop in Bristol in 1971 and Betty helped in the shop, delivering flowers and looking after flowers in the church, as well as baking cakes for family and friends.
Betty and Derrick enjoyed holidays abroad in retirement, visiting Holland, Ireland and a fishing friend in the U.S.A., and, after Derrick died nearly 20 years ago, Betty continued her travels and joined the first Congresbury church visit to Israel.
In later life, Betty continued to lead a busy and full life, always supporting village activities, until two years ago when a fall and a broken hip meant a move to Yatton Hall Nursing Home.
She had many visitors, always enjoying their company and their help with daily crosswords. She celebrated her 90th birthday in November with a party for family and friends.
The vicar of Congresbury, Rev. Matthew Thomson conducted the Thanksgiving Service, with a Bible reading by Edith Wilson, and Ken Hill gave the eulogy.
Betty will be greatly missed by daughter Nicola, son-in-law Michael, many family and friends.