Beryl Axcell, known to hundreds of primary school pupils as an active member of the Church, has won the Community Award, presented annually by Whaley Bridge Town Council.
Beryl, a mother of four and grandmother of five, including twins, has lived in Whaley Bridge since 1975, when husband Tony’s job with ICI brought him from the North East. They had met at Durham University, Baryl on teacher training course and Tony studying maths. Beryl was part of an all-women rowing team , described as ‘the likeliest crew on the river’.
Beryl went to church (Anglican) on the first Sunday they were in Whaley Bridge. She asked how she could help. Someone said: Sunday School! – and she has never stopped helping, in all sorts of ways, since.
She was a founder member of the Volunteer Centre in Whaley Bridge. She has been a Reader for the Parish of Whaley Bridge since 1995 – that means she is licensed to preach and to conduct services, including funerals. During one year when there was a vacancy for the priest in charge, Beryl conducted 34 funerals.
She has also been a part-time RE teacher at Chapel High School and about 20 years ago established Good News Family Care, with Mary Washbrook and Hazel Guest. She conducts many school assemblies at Whaley Bridge, Taxal and Fernilee, and Kettleshulme primary schools.