SEAFORD: ‘Vivid sense of duty and service to town’

Esmee Beal
Esmee Beal

TRIBUTE has been paid to a Seaford resident who lived in the town all her life.

Esmee Beal, of Ashurst Road, was said to have an ‘encyclopaedic knowledge’ of the town through the 20th Century and was among the last who could remember the history of Seaford of the last 80 years.

The 85-year-old, who died on December 4, had links with the 19th Century - the first grave in St Leonard’s churchyard was that of her grandparents Willie and Kate.

Her father Frank inherited and expanded their outfitters’ shop on the corner of the High Street and Saxon Lane, which closed in the 1960s.

Her nephew Chris Beal said, “She knew a Seaford that was small enough for everybody to know everybody else and her family clothed many members of the town.”

After attending Lewes Girls’ Grammar School she worked in the food office in Seaford during the Second World War before moving as a secretary at the cement works at Rodmell and was the only lady amidst the labourers.

After its closure she went on to work for Lewes District Council in both Lewes and Seaford and in the Tourist Office in Seaford.

She was Patrons’ Secretary of the Seaford Dramatic Society for decades and also volunteered at Seaford Museum and with the ‘Meals on Wheels’ service.

Mr Beal added, “None of that description does justice to the characteristic energy, generosity and good humour with which she blessed so many areas of local life, nor the vivid sense of duty and service, reinforced by her enduring faith.

“As she grew older, neighbours and friends flocked to her front room in Ashurst Road because she gave so much warmth, talk, stories and genuine human love.”

Esmee’s coffin was carried down the aisle of St Leonard’s Church to the very apt tune of ‘Sussex by the Sea’.