ELIZABETH JANE BARRANCE MBE
25.10.1930 – 3.10.2017
Elizabeth Craft was born on 25th October 1930 at 2 St. John’s Road, Moggerhanger. Her mother ran the Post Office and her father was the postman. Betty was the eldest of three. She had two younger brothers, John and Michael.
The family moved to Bedford Road in 1932 and Betty went to the village school, where she stayed until she was 14.
At the age of 13 Betty joined her first committee. She became the National Savings Monitor, selling savings stamps to the children and being responsible for the money she collected. She went to her first meeting as the representative of Moggerhanger School on the Biggleswade National Savings Committee. Later she became a member of the Committee and attended regional meetings.
After school she went to work at E P Rose’s and went on to do various clerical jobs.
Betty met and then married Clifford Street in 1953. Two years later their daughter Anne was born. They were among the first to move to Dynes Place when those houses were built.
During the late 1950s Betty combined two jobs – working at Bryant & May’s in the mornings and Secretary at Moggerhanger School in the afternoons, cycling between the two on her famous bicycle. She cycled everywhere. Even when she retired from her post at the school, she continued to go and hear the children read.
Anne married Henry in June 1979 and they had two children, Victoria and Christopher.
Betty was always very involved with the church. She first joined the PCC when she was 18 and served as Assistant Secretary, Assistant Treasurer and Churchwarden. She taught Sunday School and Bible Class for 50 years and along with Mrs. Baxter took the Sunday School on outings to the sea side, giving the children some pocket money on the journey ready to buy ice cream when they arrived.
A very special moment was on Betty’s 60th birthday when there was a special surprise Sunday School and Bible Class celebration service, and members past and present appeared from their hiding places in the church and came down the aisle singing.
She ran the Mothers’ Union, did everything that needed doing around the church and even rang the bell to remind villagers to get up and over to church for the service. Betty and her two friends, Jackie Phillips and Marj Hall, worked together tirelessly.
Outside her roles in church, Betty was also involved in every other aspect of village life. In the 1940s Betty became involved with the Village Hall.
She recalled cycling down the road in the morning to the old Village Hall with a basket of coal and kindling to light the open fires to warm the place for the evening bingo. Betty was one of those instrumental in the building of the new village hall. Betty held the office of Trustee of the Village Hall. As a mark of respect for her many years’ service the Trustees voted to elect her as the Village Hall President, a decision supported unanimously at the AGM on 26 April 2014.
She was the village correspondent for the Biggleswade Chronicle, and was secretary of the women’s branch of the British Legion.
Betty was also Secretary of the Moggerhanger United Football Club. She used to make the tea with Cynthia and the Smith girls and then stand on the touchline with her rattle cheering the team on.
She held various roles in the MG 60s Club and Moggerhanger Womens’ Institute. She was a Friend of the Hospital at the Park. In 1981 she, with Edith Smith, Jackie Phillips and Marj hall set up nearly-new sales at St. John’s Hospice.
Betty also served on the Parish Council, first being elected in 1991 after the death of her first husband, Clifford, who had been a councilor for 40 years.
Cliff sadly died in 1991, and was deeply missed by Betty and all the family. Betty was married again, in 1994, to Ted Barrance, and they both found happiness once again. They were a devoted couple, and Ted helped to nurse Betty’s daughter Anne in her illness. Losing her daughter so young was a tremendous blow to Betty, as well as, of course, to Anne’s husband and children
Betty was made a Member of the British Empire by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1996, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, having been nominated by numerous people from Moggerhanger and elsewhere, for services to the community. She went to Buckingham Palace for her investiture in July 1996. In May 2000 she was summoned to attend the Order of the British Empire Service of Dedication in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
It was Betty who in 2000 applied for a Millennium Grant and got the Moggerhanger Meeting Place and Shop off the ground, providing a place in the village where people could buy groceries but, more than that, could come and meet one another, find friendship, and discover what was going on in the church. Betty chaired the Committee meetings until just a few months ago.
She also opened the new kitchen area when that was completed in 2010 whilst Lynda Klimas was vicar here, having worked hard to get it done.
Betty eventually retired from being Churchwarden, but remained Churchwarden Emeritus, a title given only to a very few people who have given exceptional service, until her death. Her Churchwarden’s stave remains at the front of this church, in the choir stalls.
Betty Barrance sadly died on 3rd October 2017. The funeral service was held at 3:30 pm on Friday 20th October at St John the Evangelist Church, Moggerhanger. The church was full.
The passage below was written by Carrie Irvin sums up the spirit of the village.
The Queen of Moggerhanger is laid to rest. A beautiful service befitting of such a beautiful woman. Reverend Fiona’s service was perfect. . . I bet Betty giggled with us! Thank you Betty for all you were, for all you did and the legacy you left behind.
The original Website page about Betty appears below:
Elizabeth Barrance (nee Craft) was born on the 25th October 1930 at 2 St John’s Road, Moggerhanger. Her mother ran the Post Office and shop there. The shop was on the main road and the house attached to it was in St John’s Road. Betty, as she has always been known, married Clifford Street in 1953 and later married Ted Barrance, in 1994. Both ceremonies took place at St John the Evangelist’s Church in Moggerhanger.
She went to school in Moggerhanger from 1936 to 1944, leaving when she was 14. During her time at school she became the National Savings Monitor, selling savings stamps to the children and being responsible for the monies she collected. She went to her first meeting aged 13 as the representative of Moggerhanger Lower School on the Biggleswade National Savings Committee. Later, she became a member of the Committee and attended regional meetings.
Betty with Mr Larkins (Shop Owner), Mr Ambrose (Asst. NS Commissioner), Miss Winter ( Matron Park Hospital) and Mr F Simms (Editor Biggleswade Chronicle)
On leaving school she worked in Bedford and after about 10 years became Clerk to the Governors of Moggerhanger Lower School, and then became the School Secretary working at the school in the afternoon and working at Bryant & May in Willington as a secretary in the morning. She was at Bryant and May from 1957 until 1978, after which she worked full-time as the School Secretary. Altogether, she was School Secretary for 40 years until she retired in 1995.
From her early start as the National Savings Monitor she has been involved in almost every committee and organisation in the village. She joined the Parochial Church Council when she was 18 years old and served as Assistant Secretary, Assistant Treasurer and Church Warden. More recently she was honoured by being appointed Church Warden Emeritus.
In the 1940s she became involved with the Village Hall. She recalls cycling down the road of a morning to the old Village Hall with a basket of coal and kindling to light the open fires to warm the place for the evening bingo.
Betty was made a Member of the British Empire by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1996, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, having been nominated by numerous people from Moggerhanger and elsewhere. She went to Buckingham Palace for her investiture in July 1996. In May 2000 she was summoned to attend the Order of the British Empire Service of Dedication in St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In 2000 she applied for a Millennium Award from The Scarman Trust to fund the setting-up of the Moggerhanger Meeting Place and Shop. She became a founding member of the management committee and served as its chairman for many years.
President Moggerhanger Village Hall
Betty has served Moggerhanger community well for many many years, including holding the office of Trustee at the Village Hall. As a mark of respect for her many years’ service the Trustees voted to elect her as the Village Hall President, a decision supported unanimously at the AGM on 26 April 2014.
Here we see Betty being presented with a framed certificate to mark the occasion by Mr Chris Bashford, Chairman of the Village Hall Managing Trustees.