Well known Gorleston businessman dies aged 86
- Credit: Submitted by Ian Westbrook
A man who spent decades as a pillar of his community, providing the town with entertainment and sweet treats, has died aged 86.
Bryan Westbrook was born to a well-known Gorleston family and went on to become ingrained in the town's community through a trio of local businesses.
Mr Westbrook was born in April 1930, to Norman and Kathleen, who had a family-run bakery, Westbrook's, which had 6 shops in both Gorleston and Gt Yarmouth.
During the second world war he was evacuated to Yorkshire along with two of his three sisters, Norma and Joyce. Josette, still a baby stayed at home, but Bryan was always involved helping in the family business even at a young age.
After leaving school he attended a The Royal College of Baking and Confectionery in London, during which time he helped to decorate the wedding cake for the Royal Family. Upon returning home, he continued to work with his parents in the bakery business based at the top of Gorleston High Street.
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In 1953, he was instrumental in helping rescue people during the devastating floods in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth.
In 1958, his parents went on holiday and asked him to sell up the bakery business, which he did. By this time, he had married Molly Topps, the daughter and owner of the Great Yarmouth Yare Hotel and Albion Pub, Gorleston. The pair moved to Kennel Loke, Gorleston to set up home. It was also in this year that he opened the first of two businesses of his own - entertainment complex Marine Bingo on Gorleston sea front.
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He went on to have two children, Lindsey, now 58 and Ian, now 53.
Daughter Lindsey Westbrook-Lay said: 'He always worked incredibly hard. He was always working, particularly in the summer months when we would barely see him.
'However, we have many fond memories of him. He was always laughing and such a kind, loving gentleman and he loved his beautiful garden.'
In 1990, he purchased his second business, Nelly's Sweet Shop, which was located next door to Marine Bingo on Lower Marine Parade.
Mrs Westbrook-Lay added: 'Even when he retired we would always see somebody who knew him. People just seemed to know him - he was just ingrained in the town.
'He and my mother were also known for throwing the most wonderful parties, which would go all night and end with him making everybody breakfast in the morning.
'He was such a supportive father, be it spending seven months in retirement helping me renovate my home or supporting my brother in setting up his stage, theatre and design business, 3D Creations. He was always so proud of us both.'
He died on December 28 in Cornwallis Court, Bury St Edmunds, and leaves wife Molly, his two children, two grandchildren, Samantha, 38 and Abigayle, 36, and two great-grandchildren, Jack, six, and Kitty, four.
His funeral will be held on January 20, at 2.40pm at Gorleston Crematorium, followed by a wake at The Gorleston Golf Club on Warren Road. Family flowers only. Mourners are requested to wear bright colours as Bryan loved his colourful rose garden.
All who knew him are welcome.