Fond tributes paid to Bungay launderette owner
- Credit: James Bass
The figurehead of a prominent Bungay business has died after a long battle with cancer.
Ellen Judd founded Clean and Dry laundry and dry cleaning services in Earsham Street 40 years ago – and its popularity has seen it sweep through three generations of her family.
The 78-year-old was retired but still popped into the shop every day to chat with customers and fold washing while it was managed by two of her three daughters Sharon Knowles and Sheralee Smith, and granddaughter Caitlin Bloomfield.
Mrs Judd was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39 and fought different types of the disease on and off for four decades until she passed away at Beccles Hospital surrounded by her family last month.
Mrs Knowles said: 'She never, ever complained, she just got on with it, she had such strong willpower and a great sense of humour. She was never negative about it. She faced everything and never buried her head in the sand, most people didn't even know she had cancer.'
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The great grandmother founded the business in 1976, but it took a year to get the shop fully open.
'We lived on a farm, she had three daughters, lots of horses, cattle and muddy clothes. One day our washing machine broke down and she looked everywhere for a launderette but couldn't find one, so being mother decided to open one herself,' said Mrs Knowles.
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'She employed a lady to help with the ironing to start with and she had a few casual people over the years and then I joined 19 years ago and Sharon joined in 1999. Caitlin, my niece now also works here, who is our sister Lorraine's daughter,' said Mrs Smith.
Mrs Judd, who lived in Beccles, was born in Bow, in east London, before she was evacuated to Cheshire during the second world war.
She worked at a pharmacy in a department store in Illford where she met her husband David, who was running a butcher's shop next door.
Mrs Smith said: 'Dad cut his finger badly on a knife so he went next door and mum bandaged it up and he asked her out.'
After she was married, Mrs Judd moved to Billericay in Essex and together with her husband ran a piggery, while he managed two butcher's shops.
In 1973 the couple saw a house with 15 acres of land for sale in Ilketshall St Lawrence and they moved to Bungay, where the family also opened a riding school.
Mrs Knowles said: 'She retired 12 years ago but she came in every day to chat to customers and fold washing, she liked to be useful. Mum absolutely loved dogs, she gave a lot of money to charity and she loved dog racing and a flutter on the Grand National. She loved her garden and also her dog Dylan.
'We have got 30 sympathy cards which we have got in the shop, so many flowers and hugs from people who loved her and she served for years.
'When mum first opened the shop she donated her prime placed window to the community so if anyone had a poster for anything going on in the town, especially anything raising money for charity she would put it up and people could also make donations in fundraising pots.'
Mrs Smith said: 'Everyone will remember her for her cackle, she will be remembered for her laugh, it was so distinctive. She was a brilliant mum, nothing was ever too much trouble. We had a strict upbringing, but she was always very fair.'
A horse and carriage and morning carriage will take Mrs Judd and her three daughters through the town today, stopping outside the shop to pay tribute before the funeral at St Edmunds Church at 11.30am.
She also leaves behind seven grandchildren and one great grandson.
A celebration of Mrs Judd's life will be held at Bateman's Barn in South Elmham after the funeral.