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Hundreds of Southwellians applaud as the funeral cortege of former town council chairman Beryl Prentice drives passed

Hundreds of Southwellians left their homes, businesses and shops on Thursday to line the streets to pay their respects to a former chairman of the town council.

They lined the Burgage and King's Street as the hearse bearing the body of Beryl Prentice, who was still a serving councillor, was carried to her final resting place of the Oxton Green Burial Ground.

Applause rang out as the funeral cortege passed by.

The funeral of Beryl Prentice. (38588444)
The funeral of Beryl Prentice. (38588444)

Among the many mourners were town council colleagues and the dean of Southwell, the Very Rev Nicola Sullivan.

Covid restrictions meant that a full funeral service could not be held, but a celebration of Mrs Prentice's life is planned when restrictions no longer apply.

Mrs Prentice, 81, had been involved in virtually every aspect of life in the cathedral town and was said to be visible and vocal and never wavered in her commitment, right up until the day of her sudden death.

Beryl Prentice. Credit: James Turner (38593879)
Beryl Prentice. Credit: James Turner (38593879)

She was involved with Southwell Live At Home, Green Southwell, the historical society, the civic society, flood forum, the forming of the neighbourhood plan, the trust that manages the leisure centre.

She was also an exam invigilator and was responsible for bringing the funday and fairs to the Burgage and the annual Southwell Lantern Parade.

Mrs Prentice had also been working with the council on developing Southwell market and broadening its appeal.

She served as a Lib Dem councillor, then an independent and had shown interest in joining Labour following the election of leader Keir Starmer.

One of those present was Michael Wilkinson, from the Southwell and District Local History Society, who said: "She was full of common sense and energy and a great worker.

The funeral of Beryl Prentice. (38588442)
The funeral of Beryl Prentice. (38588442)

"She had a great interest in history so was a pleasure to work with.

"She worked very hard for the town."

The society's chairman, Mike Kirton, said: "She was a lovely lady to know — full of pragmatism and with a great sense of humour.

"She is very sadly missed in Southwell.

"It was very good of the family to make sure we had this opportunity, emailing it out as they did."

The funeral of Beryl Prentice. (38588440)
The funeral of Beryl Prentice. (38588440)

While Geoffrey Bond said: "One saw such a hard worker and an absolute model parish councillor — someone you could talk to.

"That's what local devolution of democracy needs at this level."

Mr Bond said he was impressed, albeit not surprised by the turnout.

"This is the new covid world of mourning," he said.

"You don't have to be a royal to get this, but she almost was — at least within Southwell."

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