A founder of town’s donkey derby and prominent church member passes away

Tom and Jean Bryce in 2006 - on May 21, the 50th anniversary of their meeting
Tom and Jean Bryce in 2006 - on May 21, the 50th anniversary of their meeting

A prominent member of the local Catholic Church in Daventry and one of the original founders of the town’s donkey derby has passed away.

Jean Bryce passed away at her home on May 18 from ischemic heart disease.

Jean, her late husband Tom their children Lynne and Robert moved to Daventry in 1967 when Tom became a supervisor at Fords.

The family became a part of the St Augustine’s Catholic Church community, they were part of the group of people who founded the Daventry Donkey Derby and were part of the steering committee for many years.

Jean and Tom were also involved in the church discos during the 1970s. Both were a big part of St Augustine’s church and were lay ministers.

Tom passed away in September 2009 . Jean continued with her church involvement,attending mass weekly.

Although Jean lived in Daventry she was encouraged by her brother Frank Berry and his wife Chris to Jean become involved in Long Buckby Derby and Joan, Jean became treasurer and loved the responsibility. She also attended Long Buckby market and fund raised for the annual feast.

Jean was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, her illness did not stop her living her life to the full. She continued to be a strong Christian, visiting friends who were housebound and helping the elderly at events and gatherings.

Jean will be missed by her family, her friends, the parishioners of St Augustine’s and people in Long Buckby.

At Jean’s funeral her daughter Lynne Joyce said: “Mum was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, the treatment she was given had horrible side effects, she was determined to have a good quality of life even if it meant her life was shortened.

“It didn’t stop her making plans, going out and coming to us every Saturday or Sunday for lunch.

“Jean Bryce lived life to the full.

“Mum’s death was not expected – as a positive person I have to see the sunshine through the clouds. My mum did not have to endure the pain and suffering during her final days, having to be on oxygen and her independence taken away from her.

“So although it has been a very hard few weeks we have not had to walk the path of pain and suffering with her. She died the way she would have wanted, without pain and in the home mum and dad loved.”