Pensioners Index


......Extended .Obituary..- 'M'.......



MERRY, Elsie (1926-2008) was the wife of Frank Merry, a Director of Lyons. She was born in Saddleworth, Yorkshire, to Thomas Wood Brierley and Ethel Violet, nee Wales. Her family had been mill owners until imported cotton caused the decline of the local mills. She was educated at Hulme Grammar School where she met Frank Merry and the childhood sweethearts married on 9 Sept 1950. They had a very happy marriage until Frank's death in 2007. Elsie and Frank had three daughters, Beverley (b.1957), Ashley (b.1958) and Pippa (b.1961).

Elsie had polio as a baby but never let her disability interfere with her activities. She was an accomplished pianist and enjoyed playing golf and swimming. She loved to entertain and was an excellent cook. She was a charming hostess and enjoyed that role at home and when attending the Lyons social functions. She had an amazing memory for names and family details of the many people she met at these functions and made people feel part of the Lyons family. Elsie worked as a legal secretary in the early years of her marriage and had wonderful copperplate handwriting. In later life, she worked for Reed Executive at their head office. When Elsie and Frank moved to Ascot with their family she became a fundamental member of 'Ponies of Britain' alongside the charity founder, Glenda Spooner. She also enjoyed the links with the Riding for the Disabled organisation, a cause dear to her heart due to her childhood disability. She also took great pleasure in helping to raise funds for local children's charities.

Elsie and Frank lived for many years in Ascot and then enjoyed their retirement in Sandbanks, returning to Berkshire when their health started to fail. Elsie became increasingly frail after Frank's death and died peacefully on, 23 September 2008, at the West Oak Care Home in Wokingham just over a year after he passed away.


MERRY, Frank (1927-2007) was born in Oldham, Lancashire on 14 March 1927. He was the son of Ellen and Frank Merry, Warehouse Manager. Frank was educated at Northmoor Council School and Hulme Grammar School, Oldham, where he was an outstanding scholar. He gained a scholarship to St Johns, Cambridge in 1945 and achieved a double first in History gaining his BA in 1948 along with the College prize and a Rotary Fellowship to Columbia, University, New York. He was awarded an MA in 1948.
He returned from the USA with a Special License and married his childhood sweetheart Elsie Brierley on 9 September 1950. They moved to the South of England after their marriage and Frank began work as a salesman with Mars and it was here that he learned the skills of business from the ground up. He later worked for Showerings and it is thought, was part of the team which introduced Babycham to a wide-ranging female population.
Frank joined Lyons as Managing Director of Henry Telfer Ltd in about 1963 and quickly transformed the company into a leading supplier of meat products. He was appointed to the J. Lyons & Co Board in 1967 and remained a Director until his retirement in 1998. During his career with Lyons he was in charge of a wide range of companies; in 1968 he was appointed Chairman of the Grocery Sector (formally Tea Division) which included Tea, Catering Sales, Sol Café (coffee), Soft Drinks and the Jersey subsidiary, Overseas Trading Corporation. The Grocery Sector also included Vera-Serve, an associated business supplying vending machines.
By 1972 he became Chairman of Lyons Bakery Ltd and Lyons Maid Ltd. In 1973, to meet the Groups wider international interests, the Lyons Board reorganised and formed J. Lyons International Ltd and Frank Merry then became chairman of Lyons Tetley Ltd until 1988. In 1975 he was appointed Chairman of Alpine Refrigerated Deliveries Ltd and Glacier Foods Ltd on the retirement of Guy Lawrence. In 1977 the Lyons Board reorganised again and Frank Merry became one of seven directors reporting to Len Badham, the Group’s Managing Director. As well his directorship duties within the Lyons Group he also held directorships in the Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers Ltd and the Food Manufacturers Federation Inc, He was also Council Member of the British Nutritional Foundation and Chairman of the Consumer Goods Study Group. After the takeover by Allied Breweries Ltd in 1978, Frank Merry was promoted to Assistant Managing Director (1982-1988) where his calmness under pressure was always very reassuring.
His colleague and friend, Jack Silverman, touched on some of his great strengths in his eulogy at Frank’s funeral such as his analytical prowess; his patient, tactful and thoughtful guidance of subordinates; his wide and multifaceted experience in marketing and not least his intense comprehension of finance.
During his late teens, and whilst at Cambridge, Frank played the clarinet and saxophone in a dance band. A keen sportsman, he also enjoyed cricket, tennis and golf but his main hobby was his family. Frank and Elsie were proud of their three daughters, Beverley (b.1957), Ashley (b,1958) and Pippa (b.1961) and six grandchildren, James, Alexander, Christopher, Hayley, Sasha and Jocelyn. Towards the end of his life Frank Merry suffered from diabetes and he died on 3 July 2007. He is succeeded by his wife Elsie (although frail) and children.
His eldest daughter, Beverley, compiled the major part of this obituary


MERRYWEATHER, George Alexander (1903-1991) was born in Chelsea on 19 March 1903 into a poor family. He was educated at the local school, leaving when aged about 15 years and initially worked for a meteorological company. He then applied for a post with the Hotels Division of J Lyons and Co. Ltd. in their Wages Office in Sherwood Street just off Piccadilly Circus . He quickly rose to become Wages Manager and Staff Comptroller, a position he held until retirement in 1968. Strand Hotels successfully contended that he was indispensable so his job was classified as a reserved occupation and so he missed military service during the Second World War. Instead he served as an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Warden, patrolling the streets around the Kensal Rise district of London, assisting bombed out families, ensuring that no lights were showing during blackout periods and giving help to the emergency services. When he retired in 1968 he was presented with the application form he had completed on joining the company.

He was a man always involved in DIY or some or other handicraft and was a perfectionist. Undoubtedly the responsibilities of his job weighed heavily on him as the payroll numbers increased - with the opening of new hotels - and wages had to be paid on time every week. He was very much against the introduction of the LEO computer in the 1950s, and it has been said; 'was not the easiest of colleagues to work with' which may account why he advanced no further within the Hotels Division. However he mellowed with age. He had no great social leanings but he did become a Freemason, eventually Master of his Lodge, but let his membership lapse after he retired.

George's father was Canadian-born William H C Merryweather who was employed as a commercial clerk by horticulturists James Veitch and Sons of Chelsea. His mother Ada Caroline née Cullimore was a nurse at St Stephens Fever Hospital, who had run away from her home in South Wales . In 1930, George Merryweather married Annie Ethel Mabbutt, youngest daughter of Thomas Attley Mabbutt, a milkman and Alice Margaret née Welsh. They had two sons. Brian George (1933) and Alan Fraser (1934). George and Annie moved to Horsham , Sussex in 1961 where they lived happily until moving to Cirencester, Gloucestershire to sheltered accommodation. He suffered a stroke in June 1990 and was admitted into Cirencester hospital where he died on 26 January 1991 , slipping gently away after a long sleep. He was cremated at Gloucester Crematorium following a funeral service at Holy Trinity Church , Watermoor, where he and Annie worshipped.


MINTO, Douglas Gordon (1902-1977) was a director of the Glacier Foods subsidiary, MICA (Ice Cream) Ltd (Miscellaneous Ice Cream Activities). He was born on 17 October 1902 and joined Lyons in 1928, as an ice cream sales representative, when the era of salt and ice was giving way to refrigeration. After six years he was made Chief Superintendent, London area, and three years later made General Superintendent, London area as well as joint Provincial Sales. As a territorial Douglas Minto was called up on the outbreak of war and was soon in France in Movement Control. It was not until June 1940, some weeks following the evacuation of Dunkirk, that he managed to escape from Bordeaux. On his return to the company after the war he resumed his responsibilities as Ice Cream Sales for London and the provinces and was appointed Assistant Manager. He became Manager Ice Cream Sales in 1954, a post he held for the next eight years. In January 1963 MICA (Ice Cream) Ltd was created from Dicky Bird Ltd (a company first registered in September 1948) and on 7 February 1963 Douglas Minto was made a director and chief executive of the new company. He was involved in such diverse activities as refrigeration, mobile ice cream operations, exports and overseas consultancy which took him all over the world. Douglas Minto retired in 1967 and died on 26 February 1977 leaving a widow and two daughters. He lived at Ashtead, Surrey