Denton a village in South Norfolk, England

Bubbles Gunton 1927 - 2018

From the Parish News – June 2018


Once again St Mary’s Church, Denton was full to capacity for the Memorial Service for Muriel Gunton, known throughout her life as “Bubbles”. The service was officiated by the Rev Chris Hutton, with the eulogy read by her daughter Shirley, a poem read by grandson Lee, and a bible reading by Kevin Hanner. The committal and burial took place in St. Mary’s Churchyard.

Bubbles was the daughter of Henry James and Dora Blanche Battell and the youngest sister of Joan and Alfred. Henry Battell had bought the shop in 1913 when he came to Denton - he and Dora ran the shop, which included petrol pumps in later years, until Henry died in 1945 when Dora took over. Alfred and his wife Peggy moved in with their family Kathryn and David in 1950 when Dora moved to the, then next door, bungalow where Joan’s daughter Doreen and husband Tony live to this day.

It was almost inevitable that Bubbles, who had been at Denton Primary School and later at St. Mary’s school in Bungay, should join her parents in the thriving shop on leaving school at the age of fifteen. She stayed at work in the shop until Mr and Mrs Hooker bought it after Alfred retired in 1975. This meant that the shop was in the Battell family for 62 years. Bubbles retired from working there after 45 years in 1987. As a teenager Bubbles would tell stories of the war years when the USA Airforce or “Yanks” as she called them, who were stationed at Hardwick airfield, used to send buses to pick up the local girls for dances, much to the annoyance of the local lads. Some of the American servicemen were entertained by the Battell family as an act of friendship and relief for them during these years of crisis.

In 1947 Bubbles met Reg Gunton, after he had returned from his ordeal as a POW at the hands of the Japanese. They met at rehearsals for the Denton Concert Party and they took part in several concerts together. Both being keen on sport they played tennis together regularly and Bubbles often cycled to Bungay to support Reg playing football. In later years she was also scorer for the Denton cricket team. They became engaged while on holiday in Blackpool in 1949 and were married in St. Mary’s Church in July 1950, and had their reception in Denton Village Hall.

They started married life in Chapel Cottage, where their daughter Shirley was born, moving to Globe House in 1955 shortly before the birth of their son Christopher. There they spent over 50 years of their married life together before moving to the bungalow “Field View” for their last few years. They loved their garden and Reg created a bowling green where they spent many hours of pleasure. They also enjoyed bridge parties and regularly entertained neighbours to tea-parties.

Always keenly involved in village affairs Bubbles was very involved with the Denton “Friendly Club” and any village activities such as: the tombola stall at the Fete, coffee at the post office on a Thursday, acting as guardian of the Village Hall key and distributing of the Parish News. Holidays were usually spent in Devon with the family. Much time was spent as life moved on with the sporting life of the younger family members as Shirley and Christopher, followed later by the grandchildren, all took up their various sporting activities to be followed and supported. Bubbles was also a keen supporter of Norwich City and had Sky TV installed to keep her up to date with their progress.

Bubbles reached her 90th birthday in remarkably good health, but began to slow down from then when life became more difficult for her and she passed away soon after her 91st birthday following a short illness.

Our sympathy and condolences go to her family: Shirley and Nick, Chris and Joy, with grandchildren Debbie, Lee, Ian and Scott and their families including great-grandchildren William, Ella and Genevieve. She was a very much loved lady who always seemed to have a smile for everybody.

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