Muriel and Bernard Phillips

Muriel and Bernard Phillips
Muriel and Bernard Phillips
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THE village of Shiptonthorpe is in mourning the loss of popular couple Muriel and Bernard Phillips who passed away within 18 days of each other.

Mrs Phillips, who died on January 31 aged 90, had been the first woman to be elected onto Shiptonthorpe Parish Council and served for 40 years.

Born in Swindon in 1923 in Swindon, she had 10 brothers and sisters. On one spring day in 1943, she and two of her sisters cycled to visit their Aunt who lived near an Army base.

That was where she met her future husband by chance – Mr Phillips was based there at the time - and was the beginning of their courtship. They would have been married for 70 years this July; the wedding was nearly called off abruptly because of the planning for D-Day landings.

She moved to Shiptonthorpe after the war and remained there until moving into Londesborough Court Care Home two years ago.

Mrs Phillips was also a church warden for 35 years and there are two hassocks on the children’s altar dedicated to her and her husband. All Saints Church, Shiptonthorpe, meant an awful lot to her, she also rang the bells every Sunday and was a Sunday School teacher when her own children were growing up.

She always felt that she should help whoever she could in any way. For example, she donated her blood regularly and was awarded with a certificate after having donated 50 pints. She also received a certificate from the Royal British Legion for her 40 years’ involvement with them and the Poppy Appeal collections.

She was an active member of Women’s Institute as well as being on the Charity, Playing Fields and Village Hall committees.

In fact the couple officially opened the Village Hall after the extensive alterations by cutting the ribbon. They were both very touched to be asked. They both organised the whist drives which were held in the village hall and for many, many years ran the evening sessions well into their 80s.

In the past, Mrs Phillips helped to establish the Shiptonthorpe Youth Club – she knew, having lived in a town, that young teenagers needed a place to go on an evening.

She sold tickets every week for the Blind Institute. Every year, the village held the ‘Blind Sale’ which was an ‘exciting’ day for the village in those days. People took their tickets and exchanged them for goods made by the Institute.

She was a volunteer at Market Weighton Infant School for 16 years listening to the children read and working in the school’s library. She loved being with children and helping them and was a Teacher’s Aide for many years at the senior school.

She may not have been famous for what she did but there will be many children and people who have benefitted from her generosity and kindness.

As for her husband, Bernard Phillips died of a broken heart 18 days later on February 18 at the age of 93. He was born in May 1920 in the village of Melbourne before moving to Shiptonthorpe.

He went to Shiptonthorpe village school and left at 14. He loved sport and won the Irwin Sports Shield in the Market Weighton & District Sports in 1929 and 1933 at the ages of nine and 12 respectively.

He was called up to the Second World War on August 15, 1940, and was a Gunner in the Royal Artillery based in England. After the war, he ran a market gardening business.

He was an avid visitor to racecourses knowing the horses and their lineage in detail and even bought a filly and named her Muriel B after his wife. Indeed, a large part of his life was horse racing and he specialised spotting the winner in photo finishes. He also went to greyhound racing at Craven Park in Hull. He owned several greyhounds, including one called Mam’s Luck.

He played cricket until 1958 for the village cricket Team and darts for the local Ship Inn for many years, winning numerous cups and shields.

His other great love was golf. He was fairly ‘mature’ when he started to play but made many dear friends at Beverley Golf Club. He won many competitions. He enjoyed his retirement by watching Hull City, playing golf, growing tomatoes, supporting the village and the church, gardening and being the ‘important man in the corner’ at his son-in-law’s butcher’s shop in Market Weighton.

He enjoyed helping in the church, whether it was painting the wall behind the altar on his own, changing the light bulbs, ringing the bells, cleaning the gutters, clearing the snow from the path or getting up early every Sunday to switch on the boiler.

They had three children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

The funeral of Mrs Phillips has already taken place. Her husband’s funeral takes place on Tuesday, March 4, at 1pm at All Saints Church, Shiptonthorpe.