Farewell to Corby man who put the crown back on Coronation Park

Bernard receiving his Spirit of Corby award in 2015
Bernard receiving his Spirit of Corby award in 2015

A 91-year-old man who put his heart and soul into reviving the fortunes of one of Corby’s oldest public parks has died.

Former Spirit of Corby award winner Bernard Betts, who lived in Cottingham Road, spent the last years of his life helping the Friends of Coronation Park restore the area to its former glory.

Bernard, who died on September 20, was remembered as a man who could turn his hand to anything.

A navy veteran, he leaves two sons. His wife Jean died four years ago.

Fellow Friend of Coronation Park Cyril Sellars said: “Bernard was a real treasure.

“He was a man of so many attributes and surprised me in lots of little things that he did.

“I’d go in his house and he’d be on his sewing machine taking up a hem. He was a very, very practical man.

“He became a key role player in the Friends very soon after he first volunteered to help us.”

Last year, Bernard won the Environmental Spirit of Corby award for his work in the park and for the inspiration he gave to local offenders who were working in the park.

Mr Sellars added: “Bernard applied himself too anything that cropped up. He’d always be making things and he gave a helping hand to anyone who needed it.

“He nurtured seeds at home and put the resulting flowers in the park.

“He built recycling bins for the garden waste and lots of tools racks for us to hang our tools on.

“Bernard spent hours and hours on anything that needed sorting.

“He made waterproof coverings for all our outdoor benches.

“If we ever had events on he’d throw himself into them - he wore a big red nose at Comic Relief and at Christmas he’d have a red and white hat.

“Bernard defied his years. He was such a positive man and one of my best friends.”

The Friends of Coronation Park are now considering the best way to permanently honour Bernard in the park.