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Beryl AnnBritish Heart Foundation
In loving memory of Beryl Ann Hook who sadly passed away on 22nd December 2020
Beryl, or “Be” as she was known, was born in Sittingbourne on 24th October 1934; the only child of Dorothy and Bill Broadwood.
Beryl moved to Marden with her parents when she was around 2 years old. She spent all of her single life there; attending the local schools and becoming a nanny employed by local farming families in and around the village. From this quality experience she took herself off to Paris for around a year to look after children of an English family who settled there post war.
Beryl also worked for the village bakery “Wilmhurst” where she would drive the electric delivery float and where she discovered her love for baking and bread making which, unbeknown to her at the time, was to become a lifelong hobby.
Beryl had a neighbour (Sonny) who worked at Kimberly Clarke Larkfield and knew that Beryl was single so invited her to join him and his wife Edie to the Kimberly Clarke annual dance at the Star Inn Hotel, Maidstone. One of Sonny’s work colleagues, who lived in Maidstone and he knew would be at the dance, was a certain Melvyn Hook. Well, Sonny introduces Beryl to Melvyn and they “hit it off” and were wed in 1961.
Their first marital home was a flat in an idyllic country house near Goudhurst where they lived with Beryl’s wedding present from her new husband; “Digger” a golden retriever puppy (gun dog for Mel). When Beryl fell pregnant there was a slight urgency to move to a bigger property and eventually they moved to 3 Dover Street, Maidstone, where the family lived for many years.
In 1962 their first son Richard was born and Simon followed in 1965. With the arrival of children, Beryl became a traditional full-time housewife whilst Mel went out to work. She took on a couple of part-time jobs which turned out to become long term and would generate some lifelong friendships.
Beryl cleaned for Corbens of Maidstone where she met and befriended the Corben’s wages manager, Margaret Cutting who she regularly kept in touch with. Beryl also cleaned for Auto and Audio Services where she befriended one of the directors, Terry Lewton and his family with whom the Hook family took regular sailing trips on Terry’s yacht down the Medway Estuary always aiming to reach France but alas never did.
Beryl and Mel managed a lifelong ambition, when they ventured out to Florida to see and stay with Mel’s niece Val and her husband Dwaine. They did not stop talking about it for years and always intended to return but alas, this was not meant to be.
Beryl and Mel also loved to get away to their caravan in the countryside, whenever possible, where they would enjoy barbequing every day, whilst watching the local wildlife. Mel and Be also enjoyed many cottage and continental coaching holidays, during latter years, to Scotland, England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Andorra and Switzerland, to name but a few, sometimes on their own but often with their friends; Bill & Sue and Mike & Betty.
Another of their favourite past-times, on a sunny summer evening, was to partake in a Soiree in the allotment orchard with their friends; Rosemary, Gordon, Chris, Don and Tom, during which they would polish off a bottle or two.
Life took a different turn in 2000 with the arrival of Samantha; Beryl’s first of two granddaughters with Georgie arriving in 2002. It was at this point that the knitting needles came out of retirement and children’s cardigans and jumpers were in full production. Beryl and Mel would spend many happy hours playing, reading and taking the girls to the park, allotment and caravan with them.
Sadly Mel, Beryl’s husband of 59 years, died in March 2020. She missed him dearly. Following this and during the pandemic she would while the time away by doing puzzles, crosswords, reading, gardening and watching old black and white films on TV.