In loving memory of Beryl Joan Starke who sadly passed away on 20th December 2019
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On the 19th of April 1930 Ted and Florence Goody were delivered of a smiling bundle, a tiny jewel whom they named Beryl.
Mum’s childhood and schooling is somewhat shrouded in mystery, although we do believe she attended a local school called East Ward, in Colchester.
During World War Two, Mum spent some time with her sister Ruby in Woolwich where their father worked in the arsenal. Then, together with Ruby, she was evacuated ‘up north’ to Preston to stay with their uncle Percy.
After the war, Beryl and Ruby returned to Colchester where life was about to change again for Beryl. At a dance upstairs in the popular Rendezvous Club in George Street, she was whisked off her feet by a dashing west country soldier who was stationed at the local army barracks. The sinuous and muscular form of Peter would remain her hero - her partner for life.
Beryl Joan Goody and Peter Graham Starke ‘tied the knot’ in September 1949 at St Giles Church near Abbeygate, Colchester
While honeymooning at the Grand Atlantic Hotel in Weston-Super-Mare, Mum challenged Dad to “Fly me to the moon!” “Can’t do the moon,” Dad replied “…but how about Cardiff?” (he’d spotted an advert for day trip flights across the Severn estuary in a DeHavilland Rapide!)
Now happily married, Mum secured a job in the drawing office of Colchester engineering firm Paxmans where Dad was employed as a technical draughtsman. With help from father Ted, mum and dad bought their first house - 191 Bergholt Road, Colchester.
Mum then successfully applied for a full-time position selling ladies’ outerwear in the big Co-op store in the centre of town.
After Ted died in 1956, Mum’s strong sense of family duty meant she would spend her Thursday afternoon half-days off by gardening or cleaning at her mother’s council house.
Together with good friends Doreen and Dorothy, Mum joined the Women’s Institute, where they all enjoyed activities such as cooking and dressmaking.
In April of 1957 Mum and Dad were thrilled to announce the arrival of their first child… John (me!).
Two years later and with thoughts of expanding the family, Mum & Dad moved from Bergholt Road into a bungalow on a brand new development in Colchester called Prettygate… and stayed!
In 1962 after a marathon 48 hour delivery, Mum was delighted - or more likely relieved - to give birth to her second child, Chris (him!).
Four years on and an opportunity was spotted at a local doctors’ surgery - they needed a receptionist. Mum applied and was successful. Ever dependable, mum helped run the Creffield Road surgery until her retirement some 25 years later.
The 1970s arrived and Mum passed her driving test - but mostly declined offers to get behind the wheel of Dad’s Vauxhall Viva except, possibly, for occasional trips to the coast with her friends. Preferring two wheels to four, she was happy to cycle the mile or so to work at the doctors’.
After enjoying many a trip to Cornwall and Wales, Mum & Dad were tempted to visit warmer climes for family holidays and the Vauxhall Viva was duly loaded up for the marathon drive to St Tropez on the French Riviera. In subsequent years, the attraction of flights to the Costas and Balearics rather than long
distance drives on the wrong side of the road proved difficult to resist.
Mum enjoyed entering competitions - and was also quite good at winning them - especially those requiring marketing slogans. Among the many resulting prizes, two in particular stand out: a twin-tub washing machine (apparently one of the first in the street); and a family trip (well almost – Chris was too young to go!) to the Isles of Scilly courtesy of Cadburys.
In 1990, and by way of celebrating dad’s retirement, during a family meal we surprised them with a pair of tickets for a short break holiday to Venice.
During the 1990s, now retired, and with offspring finally sprung, Mum & Dad ventured even further afield with trips to Florida and the US Pacific coast being particularly memorable. Disneyland and Disneyworld both proved enjoyable whereas an encounter with a rattlesnake was somewhat less so! Mum defied her age with a 100m sprint that might have challenged Linford Christie! Oh… sorry, did I forget to mention, the rattlesnake was a dead one!
In Easter 2014, a memorable family trip by Eurostar and TGV via Paris to John and Susie’s French bolt-hole was one of Mum’s last ventures abroad.
Mum was a great cook and host and always keen to make sure we were well fed; barely had we sat down from lunch before she was offering sandwiches for tea. Her sherry trifles remain unrivalled.
With a keen sense of fun, Mum enjoyed classic comedy of the past like the Goons, the Two Ronnies, Ken Dodd, and Morecambe & Wise and loved seeing a London show – Les Miserables and Miss Saigon being her particular favourites.
At home, and weather permitting, you could find her tending the garden - ridding the lawn of clover or weeding the flower beds, and educating her offspring on the names of the shrubs.
During her life Mum built strong friendships with work colleagues and neighbourhood friends alike - good, loyal friends some of whom we are pleased to see here today.
And most of all, for 70 years she was a devoted partner and wife to Peter, our lovely father; a caring mother to us, mother-in-law to Susie and Ann and a loving and supportive grandmother to Jamie, Sam, Helena, Beth and Dominic.