‘Bryan will be remembered for his trademark fantastic smile’

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A MAN of many and diverse interests, Bryan Partridge may at first sight have appeared conventional but he was full of surprises, said his nephew.

Bryan, father-of-two and grandfather-of-three, died aged 88, on March 9, after a long period of ill health.

He had worked for almost 50 years as an engineer for Hastings Borough Council.

“He had a detailed knowledge of roads and traffic flows and was such a perfectionist he would carry yellow paint in his car to touch up yellow lines and road signage that he didn’t think was up to scratch,” said his nephew John Hay.

“He was a very kind, decent man who people thought was really conventional, but he had all these quirks.”

Bryan loved the outdoors, wide open spaces, and was an enthusiastic volunteer at St Helen’s Wood, near his home in Langham Road. He is in fact mentioned in the commemorative book.

He also loved speed and the freedom of the open road, and even proposed to his wife Peggy, while she was riding pillion on his motorbike.

He was also a keen naturist, said John, a film director based in Brighton.

Bryan was very interested in music, though not himself musical, and both he and Peggy, who died two years ago, were known for their involvement in the Hastings Musical Festival.

Originally from Worcester, Bryan left school at 16, midway through the Second World War, and was assigned to the Royal Engineers and posted to Egypt, where he was given the task of constructing a military hospital in a desert beside the Suez using German prisoners of war.

He learned German in order to communicate with the prisoners, whom he went to visit after the war was over to see how they were getting on.

Bryan and Peggy had two children, daughter Liz, 56, now a violinist who plays regularly at The Proms, and has toured the world with many orchestras, and son Bill, 58, now vice president at Citibank, and three grandchildren.

The couple moved to Hastings in 1965, where they became deeply involved in the community, and Bryan worked for the council until his retirement aged 60.

Bryan was moved to Mountside Residential Home in his eighties, and when he first arrived was put in a room without a view so plotted his escape, remembering the access code for the door, said John.

“He always liked wide open spaces, but he was very happy there in the end.

“He would talk to absolutely anyone.

“He had a fantastic smile, that was his trademark really.”

Bryan’s funeral was held at Hastings Unitarian Church on Monday (March 25).

“There was a really good turn out,” said John. “People had some lovely memories of him from all walks of life.

“He was a remarkably kind, generous and thoughtful man and will be greatly missed by the whole family.”