Roy & Mary Endersby

Roy Endersby was born in 1915. He was raised in Lewisham, South London. Mary Talbot was born in 1916. Her family home was in New Cross. Both families attended the Strict Baptist Chapel in Devonshire Drive, Greenwich. In the late 1920’s both families moved out of London. Roy’s family to West Wickham and Mary’s to Bromley. Both families attended the Strict Baptist Chapel in Hayes Lane, Bromley. Roy and Mary were married on 16 September 1939 at the Hayes Lane Chapel.

Roy joined the army in January 1942 after which he remained throughout the war in the UK. However in the latter part of 1945 he was posted to Cairo, Egypt. Whilst there he made contact with Wesley House and through ministry there he joined the Methodist Church. On his return home in August 1946 Roy and Mary joined the West Wickham Methodist Church. Roy was particularly active in the very large Sunday School especially with the 11/14 age range where he lead the Senior Department. He later became Sunday School Superintendent.

In mid-1956 Roy and Mary and their three sons moved house to 21 Beadon Road Bromley. Initially Roy made it clear that despite the move to Bromley he and the family would continue to attend the Methodist Church in West Wickham despite the fact that the journey was twice as far. This is in fact what happened for the first few months. However as a family they did, from time to time, attend one of the three Methodist Churches in Bromley, i.e. the main church known as High Street, Bromley. This occasional presence was noted and at some point Roy received a letter from Frank Scott, the Sunday School Superintendent outlining the vacancies that existed in the Sunday School which at this time continued to meet on a Sunday afternoon. In his own words Roy later wrote, “the one vacancy in Frank’s letter which to me, stood out like a sore thumb was that when the S.S. School scholars reached age 14 there was no Youth Fellowship such as we had at West Wickham.” Roy continued, “I offered with some trepidation to commence such a fellowship.” However Frank would only let him have boys which Roy was not entirely happy about although he suggested that the idea of a mixed fellowship was still not considered suitable, “on the other hand perhaps he wanted me to prove my worth first.”  The family very quickly became part of the church in Bromley and embraced the church in all its aspects. Roy duly took on the leadership of the young people’s class. However some three months later it was agreed that the girls group should join the boys so that it became a mixed group.

All this took place in 1956/7. Continuing his account of his involvement with young people Roy refers to a discussion he had with Eric Peerless, the then leader of the Youth Club in Bromley. Roy later wrote (that in his discussion) Eric felt the time had come for him to stand down as youth club leader and had dropped large hints to this effect but no one had picked up on it! It must be remembered that in the post war era youth clubs for teenagers were very popular particularly those run by churches. Thus the role of leader was an important one in the life of the church. Roy said that his advice was in Methodism not to give large hints but to issue an ultimatum. Roy continued that, “when I gave him this advice, which he took, I give you my word that the idea of being youth club leader had never entered my head. I’d no experience, so why should it? This is where I firmly believe God took a hand once again in my life because a week or two later I found myself telephoning Mr Ducker (Rev. Ronald Ducker minister of the High Street, Bromley Methodist Church) and saying that I felt I ought to offer to take over from Eric.” Roy added that it was on condition that he should be relieved from being a Society (Church) Steward.” Roy wrote that, “Mr Ducker’s reaction was immediate telling Roy that he had studied the church membership list of over 300 people very closely, and there was only one obvious candidate for the position of youth club leader, and that was Roy. Roy continued, “I think that it was at this moment that I realised God had spoken. I believed then that God was calling me to this task and as the years went by this belief was strengthened. “Roy therefore moved into the role of youth club leader something that was to have a profound effect on him and all of his family over the next ten years or more.

Roy’s life during this period had several strands. First of course was his family, followed by his church involvement which whilst focussing largely on the youth work, both the Sunday afternoon fellowship plus the youth club, his business and his other interests including the Rotary Club.

The family were of course growing up with David and Paul in their teens and Phil following on. Paul was already a member of the youth club and David soon joined. Mary however had little involvement in the first instance with Phil still only aged nine and thus not able to be left. However the whole family became more and more embroiled in the youth work.

Whilst Roy’s main focus was the youth work he maintained an active involvement in all other aspects of church life. However he quickly started to impact the youth club. In particular he embraced the wider aspect of Methodist youth work, the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs (MAYC). He soon developed a desire to have a presence in the annual “London Weekend.” He was quick to nominate the youth club’s skiffle group for the London Weekend Show at the Royal Albert Hall. This was duly accepted for the 1958 show. The decision to include the group was taken by the Show’s musical director, Steve Race who was well known for his regular TV and radio appearances. Writing to Roy a few days after the show, Rev. Len Barnett, Secretary of MAYC said, “What a rip roaring session the skiffle session turned out to be!” I felt very proud of you – as proud as you had every right to be of yourselves – as I watched you in action. It was first rate, and I am sure the whole club feels as cock-a-hoop about the fact that you covered yourselves in glory in the greatest MAYC Show ever to be staged, as I am on your behalf. Well done, all of you well done indeed!” Len Barnett finished his letter, “thanks a million for all the love and loyalty to MAYC and to me as its Secretary, to which you tremendous efforts testified. I think I must be the luckiest chap in Methodism!”

Roy used his business interest and skills in linking them with his youth work both locally and in a wider context. He largely wrote and then had printed a regular “Club News” replicating a similar publication published by the church for all members in Bromley. He soon started to receive orders for printing from both MAYC and other departments of the Methodist Church.

Roy continued to explore new ways of leading the youth club and providing new experiences for the members and he soon became involved in the wider MAYC scene. Further appearances of the Albert Hall show followed. When the challenge was put one year to all the Methodist Youth Clubs to raise money to purchase tractors “To feed the hungry” the expectation was that clubs would raise money through a variety of methods and send their contributions towards purchasing a tractor, costing at that time £1200. By today’s standards that may not seem too much, but in the early 1960’s it was probably about £25000. Notwithstanding this Roy suggested to the club that they try and raise enough money to purchase a tractor on their own. It turned out that one other club, in Wolverhampton, had the same idea. Both clubs were successful. In Bromley various fund raising schemes were devised.

Other ventures included participation in the Methodist District music festival. Roy asked his brother Maurice, a gifted musician, to form and train a choir for the festival. Needless to say the choir won first prize. There was further involvement in district events through the years. Roy was invited to join the organising committee for the London Weekend and out of this he offered to organise a separate Folk Festival which ran opposite to the Albert Hall Show. It must be remembered that at that time folk music was very popular.

Then there was “Operation Friendship.” This was a scheme whereby clubs who were located near London hosted clubs coming to the London Weekend from much further away. Accommodation was provided at the church hall. Boys downstairs, girls upstairs with Roy sleeping on the floor in a small room at the back of the stage!

Through all this the Methodist Youth Club in Bromley became very well known as did Roy. He received the ultimate accolade when in 1965 he was asked to become vice president of the movement. The practice was to invite a minister to be the president and a layman to be the vice president.

One of Roy’s most successful events was to organise a “This is your Life” evening at the church. He decided to present the life of Rev. Ralph Fennell the youngest of the circuit ministers. This evening was an outstanding success and was much appreciated by Ralph and his wife Janet.

Another event which stands out in the memory was a concert. Roy was aware that there were many talented young people in the club so he suggested the event during which a whole range of sketches, musical items, drama presentations and music were provided over two or three evenings. Another success.

In August 1964 Paul, the eldest son married and he was followed in October of the same year when his brother David married. It was obvious therefore that Roy & Mary with just one son at home no longer needed a five bedroomed house. They therefore found a suitable smaller house in Chislehurst. Surprisingly however it took many months to secure a sale of the home in Bromley. They eventually had to reduce the asking price to £8000. The purchaser was the Methodist Home Missions Department. (It is worth noting that the property is now worth around one million pounds!!

As the 1960’s moved on Roy continued with his business and youth work. However further change was on the way. Roy’s health meant he was spending less time at work and handing over some responsibilities to his son David. The time was also coming when he had to start thinking about stepping down from the youth work. The opportunity presented itself when in 1965 the former church buildings were sold and demolished and a replacement built nearby. This included a purpose built youth wing and it was a this time action was taken to employ a paid youth leader. However Roy maintained his links with youth work and MAYC in particular. In 1971 he was elected as chairman of the London Weekend Committee a post he held for the next 9 years.

In January 1975 a reunion was held to which all former members of the youth club, who could be located were invited to meet together for a reunion. This was a memorable evening and it coincided with Roy’s 60th birthday.

Roy and Mary moved to Eastbourne in 1977. Roy remained chairman of the printing company but the running of the firm was now with David and Maurice, Roy’s youngest brother. However the move to Eastbourne was not simply a matter of stepping back from the day to day running of the business it was prompted also by Roy’s deteriorating health.

Once in Eastbourne they soon settled into a more relaxed lifestyle which included involvement in St Stephens Methodist Church in Hampden Park. They spent time in the town on sunny days and went to the theatre from time to time. However my guess is that this was not the happiest time for Mary who was naturally concerned about Roy’s health but was probably quite lonely for much of the time. Although Roy’s health was not good in May 1980 they were able to attend the MAYC London Weekend as guests of the Association.

Roy’s health continued to of concern and it took a further turn for the worse on Monday 14 July 1980. He was admitted to hospital on Thursday 17 July. Despite the care provided at the hospital Roy died in the early hours of 22 July. Roy’s funeral was held on 28 July 1980 at St Stephen’s Methodist Church when many old friends from Roy’s past were able to attend. The service included the hymn, “In heavenly love abiding” which was a special hymn for Roy & Mary during the time that Roy was abroad in Cairo in 1945/46. Many tributes were paid both verbal and in writing. Donations were asked in lieu of flowers to MAYC and the money was ultimately used to fund the production of a booklet entitled the “History of MAYC,” which was later prepared to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Association.

Following Roy’s death Mary remained in their bungalow in Eastbourne and continued to attend the St Stephen’s Church. However as the weeks went by she began travelling to Hailsham to attend the Hailsham Christian Fellowship which was founded in February 1981 and where Paul was one of the leaders. In 1983 she moved to Hailsham where she remained in her own home until 2004. However following a fall some months earlier which involved over eight months either in hospital or a care home she decided to move permanently into a care home in Hailsham. She remained there for four years when her physical condition deteriorated beyond the point where the staff could manage her. As a result she moved to Bay House in Bexhill where she remained for a further three years. She thus spent the unusually long period of nearly seven years in care homes, (the average is about 2½ years). She died in 2011 and amazingly also on 22 July. Her three sons and their wives were present with her when she died.

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