Farewell to Harpenden paperman of all seasons

Bryce Dey

Bryce Dey - Credit: Archant

Harpenden residents are mourning the loss of a beloved former Royal Navy sailor and paperman who passed away last month.

Since Bryce Dey’s death on November 12 his daughter Samantha, of Batford, has been left astonished by the number of people who have contacted her with kind words about his lovely and happy nature.

The 78 year old, of Southdown, started work as a paperman 14 years ago when someone did not turn up for a shift at a newsagents his daughter worked at: “I started working at Balfour news agency and he used to come down with me. One day one of the paper boys didn’t turn up, so my dad went out and did the round and the rest is history.”

Diana Brimblecombe, of Harpenden, said Bryce was her “paperboy” for many years, dating back to when he delivered from the old Post Office in Southdown where he organised the other paper rounds.

She said: “He was quite elderly when he started and I knew he had been decorated in the Services from hearing the ladies in the Post Office talk about him.

“Despite his age and his ill health, Bryce never failed to deliver our papers on time, appearing early on his motorised tricycle in Grange Court Road whatever the weather.

“Last winter’s snow and ice did not put him off and he was here as usual on Christmas Eve morning, and finished in good time for his usual refreshment stop mid-morning. He took a personal interest in his customers and so we were very sad when we heard he was ill, and had subsequently died.”

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Samantha said of her father, who was awarded an OBE for his time in the Special Boat Service: “It is unbelievable how thought of he was really. It’s been difficult recently but seeing how many people loved my dad has helped. Even the dry cleaners – when I took his suit in, they said it would be an honour to do it and didn’t charge me for it.”

Bryce spent his twilight years being doted on by his three grandchildren, Morgan, Jack and Katie, and spending time at his favourite Southdown haunts, the Plough and Harrow and the local café.

Samantha said: “If you saw him in the café, he loved doing Sudoku. He was very into his rugby too. He used to fly his flag off his bike and out the window.”

The mother of three added: “He did make an impression as soon as you met him. Every time he met someone my dad shone. He was quite a character. He meant the world to me.”

His funeral is tomorrow (Friday) at 10am at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Harpenden, those wishing to pay their respects are welcome.