Family and Ottery scouting community says farewell to ‘dedicated’ Jeff
PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:17 20 October 2017
Tributes have been paid to a dedicated and committed scout leader and family man who was respected by all who knew him.
Jeff Bellworthy led 1st Ottery Scouts, which was part of the Sid and Otter Valley District, for nearly 30 years. He served first as a committee member, before becoming assistant scout leader, scout leader and then group leader.
He died on October 5 after a long battle with cancer at the age of 78.
Born in Exeter, Jeff met Phyllis, his wife of 58 years, in Belmont Park, and together they had six children and 13 grandchildren. The couple moved to Ottery when Jeff began working as an electronic engineer at Racal in Seaton, and it was at this time when he began his three decades of service with the scouts.
Mike Moore, a former scout leader, said: “Jeff was an absolute great guy. He was one of those people you never heard a bad word about and he never said a bad word about anyone else. A lot of people in Ottery had a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he did.”
Jeff was also remembered for taking youngsters down to Dewerstone scout centre on Dartmoor twice a year, as well as district camp.
Andrew Coley, a former scout, said: “His commitment and dedication to the group was huge. I remember him taking pride in all the boys’ achievements, especially those for whom scouting provided a steadying influence in their lives.”
He stepped down from scouts after he moved to Kilmington in 2004.
His other hobbies were gardening, short mat bowls and DIY. He would carry out repair work for all his family, including his daughters living in Germany and France.
Phyllis said: “He wanted to learn to do something with his hands. He would never travel abroad without his tool kit.”
Daughter Susan added: “He was a great dad and he was always there for us, he helped us in so many ways.”
The family thanked the ‘exceptional staff’ of the Yarty Ward, Hospiscare and Axminster Medical Centre for caring for Jeff.
Phyllis said: “He fought a good fight and the staff were so supportive, especially at the end.”
Jeff is survived by his wife Phyllis, sister Jennifer, his six children and 13 grandchildren.
A service will be held tomorrow (Friday) at St Giles Church, in Kilmington, at 2pm. A funeral tea will be held at the village hall. Family flowers only but donations, if desired, to The Exeter Leukaemia Fund (ELF).