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‘She had that gift of people wanting to follow her creed’ - Tributes to Lady Somerleyton

PUBLISHED: 09:16 24 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:26 24 December 2018

Belinda Somerleyton. AMANDA SANDLAND-TAYLOR

Belinda Somerleyton. AMANDA SANDLAND-TAYLOR

A “pole star” and leading community figure has died after a brave battle with cancer.

Then-Lord and Lady Somerleyton in 2001. SAM ROBBINS.Then-Lord and Lady Somerleyton in 2001. SAM ROBBINS.

Belinda Somerleyton, the dowager Lady Somerleyton, passed away surrounded by her children on December 1.

Her son, Hugh Somerleyton, the current Lord Somerleyton, paid tribute to his mother following her death.

The 79-year-old had proved a popular community figure and was involved in a number of local groups and charities, including the Somerleyton Ukulele Strummers and Red Cross, as well as animal charities such as the Home of Rest for Horses.

He said: “From our perspective, she was the pole star that so many and so much of life on and around the estate centred on, especially in the years following her husband’s death.

Belinda Maris Loyd on her wedding day on October 14 1963.Belinda Maris Loyd on her wedding day on October 14 1963.

“She did more than her fair share of public service, especially with the Red Cross for which she earned her OBE, but also for the Suffolk Horse Society, Home of Rest for Horses and, more locally, the Parish council and as warden of Ashby Church.

“It was always a pleasure to learn not only how effective mum was, but also how much light she brought to these meetings and how many retired city big-shots, all men in those days, would roll over to do her bidding.

“In another life, she would have been a very effective CEO. She had that gift of people wanting to follow her creed.”

Her husband Lord Somerleyton, Savile Crossley, the third Baron Somerleyton, died at the age of 83 in 2012. The pair married in 1963, and had five children - Isabel, Camilla, Alicia, Hugh and Louisa.

Lord and Lady Somerleyton walking around their gardens. BILL DARNELL.Lord and Lady Somerleyton walking around their gardens. BILL DARNELL.

In 2004, Lord and Lady Somerleyton moved out of Somerleyton Hall and into a smaller house on the estate, with their son Hugh and his wife Lara taking over the running of the estate.

Lord Somerleyton said: “My mum very much enjoyed the friendship of the now famous Somerleyton Ukulele Strummers and being surrounded by her children, grandchildren and ponies at Blocka Hall Farm.

“She will be hugely missed by all.”

For those wishing to pay their respects to Lady Somerleyton, a service of thanksgiving will be held at St Mary’s Church, Somerleyton, on Monday, January 21 at 2pm.

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