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Bill Barritt - former Lloyd George Society chairman

January 20, 2017 2:29 PM

Bill and PatMembers will be sad to hear that Bill Barritt, who was Lloyd George Society chairman for many years, and who used to run the Society more or less single handed, died on 1 December at the age of 84. The funeral took place at the Roman Catholic Church of St John the Evangelist in Bridgnorth and Bill was buried next to his wife Pat, who we also remember as a much loved and cheerful fixture at Society weekend schools, in the Bridgnorth cemetery. Bill and Pat were married on 11 August 1955 and they had four children and twelve grandchildren.

In the photo Bill (on the left) and Pat are enjoying a canal barge trip.

By profession Bill was an accountant. Apparently he had wanted to be a teacher but was prevented from following this course by his father and at the age of 16 he was sent to Shrewsbury to begin studying for a career in accountancy. Established in the profession, in 1963 Bill took the opportunity to go and work in Nigeria, then still quite a newly independent nation, taking his young family. In the eulogy read at Bill's funeral, Nigeria was described as a country simmering in political uncertainty and the family left just before a bloody coup and brutal civil war.

Returning home they settled in Wales. Bill's accountancy career flourished while his family grew up in Wales. However, boredom and his adherence to strict accounting standards led him to him leaving the safety of his firm and take the role of Group Accountant for a maverick entrepreneur whose untimely death paved the way for Bill to become a co-director turning the business into a success.

Those of who us knew Bill from the Society were probably aware that he had been a Liberal parliamentary candidate in Barry at the 1979 general election. He volunteered to do this because no-one else would come forward but he came third, beating Plaid Cymru and National Front competitors and came close to holding his deposit.

Many Society members also knew that Bill was a fervent Wolves supporter and about Bill's passion for railways. Those of us lucky enough to visit his lovely Bridgnorth home were always offered the opportunity to ride on the wonderful home railway system he built in the garden.

Bill was described in his eulogy as a private individual, fairly undemonstrative hiding a lot behind a cultivated curmudgeonly demeanour and an affected grumpiness. He was in reality quite a jolly man, with a dry humour, excessively and quietly generous. Always willing to listen, question then share his pearls of wisdom. That is an assessment which will ring true to Society members.

The Lloyd George Society owes Bill Barritt a huge debt of gratitude. Not only was he our Chairman, he organised our weekend schools, arranging speakers, taking monies, fixing things with the hotels - including one awful year for him when our usual venue claimed to have no knowledge of the bookings and he was forced frantically to search mid-Wales for a suitable, last-minute replacement, which of course he managed to do. But Bill was also generous to the Society financially, often covering losses on the schools or other expenses from his own pocket. We have missed Bill and Pat at our schools since Bill stood down as chairman and this year's event will be more poignant as we remember them both.