Supervisor with responsibility for 60 bakery shops

Date: Friday 12th October 2018
Elsie Richardson Bel
Elsie Richardson Bel

TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular Penrith woman who spent her entire career with Birkett’s Bakery.

The funeral of Elsie Richardson Bell, who died at the age of 94, was held at Christ Church on Monday.

She was born at 1a Harrison Street, to Jack and Edna Davidson, in October, 1923, and her parents ran the Angel Lane Chippie.

Elsie was educated in Penrith and when she left school her headteacher, Miss Marsh, arranged for her to have an interview with bakery boss Harry Birkett, who she later said was “very pleasant”.

She started working in the company’s Devonshire Street shop in February, 1938, and developed a passion for window displays, winning a number of awards and prizes for her creative work.

Elsie met her future husband, Harry Bell, in 1941 and the couple were married in 1944. They spent 68 years of married life at Lark Lane Cottage, Townhead.

At Birkett’s Elsie was eventually made shop supervisor. She was initially given the responsibility for five branches but this eventually extended to 60 shops covering an area as far south as Lancaster and north into Scotland just south of Edinburgh.

After Harry died in 2012 Elsie moved to Greenacres, Plumpton, where she spent five happy years with her Shetland sheepdog, Josh.

In her spare time she enjoyed gardening, in which she took great pride, flower arranging and making greetings cards, including parchment and quilling.

Earlier this year she moved into residential care at Croftfield, near Cotehill, where she made many new friends and enjoyed participating in various activities.

Elsie leaves a daughter, June, and two grandchildren — Jacqueline, who is married to Mark, and David — as well as two great-grandchildren, eight-year-old Kieran and three-year-old Leah.

June said: “She was always dressed immaculately and everyone said she was a smart lady. She didn’t look old, she didn’t act old and she didn’t feel old. She filled her world with her family and her hobbies.”