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OBITUARY: Tony Bryant - court clerk, gardener and leading light of bowling in Wiltshire

Tony BryantTony BryantOne of the founders of Marlborough Gardening Association and a stalwart of the town’s Bowls Club, Tony Bryant, has died at the age of 82 following a long illness.

Mr Bryant, whose home was in St John’s Close in Marlborough, spent the last six years of his life in Merlin Court nursing home where he died on Tuesday last week.

The funeral takes place at St Mary’s Church, 12noon next Tuesday (August 4), and will be followed by cremation at the West Wiltshire Crematorium.

Mr Bryant was born in the village of Vellow near Stogumber in West Somerset and was the first child from that school, and from his family, to win a place at Minehead Grammar School.  He worked for solicitors in Minehead before he did his National Service in the RAF and served in Egypt at the time of the Suez crisis.

He finished his National Service at Yatesbury camp and decided to make his home in Wiltshire, joining the magistrates courts office in Swindon as a clerk.

One of the highlights of his military service was being on parade for the funeral of King George VI.

Mr Bryant served as a court clerk for 38 years until his retirement.  He and his wife Sheila were together for 48 years and he doted on their daughter Tracey and his three step children, Robin, Christopher and the late Denise.

Mr Bryant, who had a garden at his home and an allotment, was one of founders the Marlborough Gardening Association in the early 1970’s and served as its treasurer for 30 years and also as its president.

Mr Bryant was a keen bowler, a member of the Marlborough Bowls Club and as its president he steered the club through the development of its new clubhouse.

He was also a leading member of the Wiltshire Bowling Association, playing on numerous tours and he served as its president. Mr Bryant was made an honorary life member of the Marlborough club in 1995 and of the county association in 2001.

As a boy he was a Scout and became a lifelong stamp collector.

In 1982 he received a commendation from Wiltshire Police after disregarding his own safety to help rescue a neighbouring pensioner who was injured in a gas explosion at her home - she later died.

Daughter Tracey Barnett said: “Dad loved his family and his home and his dogs throughout the years.”

Mrs Bryant said: “He loved his scouting and was very much into it as a boy.”

At Minehead Grammar the school hymn was Praise My Soul the King of Heaven which will be sang at Tuesday’s funeral. During his RAF service in Egypt he helped run the camp cinema and his favourite film was the Glen Miller Story so the music when the funeral ends will be Moonlight Serenade.

His family has asked for donations for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and for cancer research, care of Thomas Free and Sons funeral directors, The Parade, Marlborough SN8 1NE.

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