Edith Bizley: At the helm of family’s East Anglian cleaning business

Edith Bizley, who has died aged 94, was for a quarter of a century at the helm of East Anglia's largest specialist contract cleaning company.

The family business, founded in Norwich in 1946 by her husband Charles, expanded rapidly and eventually employed about 2,000 staff across eastern England.

As joint managing director of Chas Bizley & Co, she was responsible for administration at the business, which had originally started as a window cleaners.

It expanded rapidly into contract office cleaning and acquired Aylsham-based J W Palmer. Later, Chas Bizley Plant Hire was started and their elder son Michael became a director of the family concern in 1966.

His mother had been joint MD until 1972, then became deputy chairman until 1976, when the business was sold to ISS Servicesystem and the founder-directors retired.

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Michael became a director of the then enlarged Birmingham-based business, and then UK managing director in 1984; it is now part of the global Danish services giant, ISS.

Edith Verdun Bizley was born in Great Yarmouth on May 10, 1916, where her father was a fisherman. She was the third of four children and went to school in the town.

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After her marriage in February 1946, they lived at Hoveton, then Itteringham and at Aylsham from 1958, where she also became involved in good causes. She was an active member and a former president of Aylsham Inner Wheel, also supporting her husband in Rotary 108 and during his term as district governor in the 1970s.

Mrs Bizley was a governor of Aylsham Nursery School and later the town's middle school. She was a flower arranger and was involved with several children's charities and luncheon clubs.

After some years at Irstead and Horning, she and her husband moved about four years ago to Bradfield St Clare, near Bury St Edmunds, to be nearer her eldest son.

She leaves her husband of 64 years, sons Michael and Richard and eight grandchildren and 14 great- grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at West Suffolk Crematorium, Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday, December 8 at 12.45pm.

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