Tribute to well-known Rushden funeral director

A Rushden funeral director, who was born above the family business, has had life celebrated by his loved ones in the room named after his grandfather.

Bill Abbott
Bill Abbott

William Abbott, known as Bill, died peacefully on Boxing Day with Patricia, his wife of more than forty years, by his side.

Using his own funeral plan, he was given a very low-key funeral carried out by his family firm at A Abbott & Son in Bedford Road, Rushden the place where he had been born 92 years before.

Paying tribute to her late husband, his widow Patricia said: "He was a very contented man and very generous in all ways.

Patricia and Bill Abbott

"He was very kind and he would help as much as he could. He didn't ever strive for anything and he was comfortable with what he'd got."

Bill Abbott was born in 1927, 'above the shop', in buildings that housed his grandparents' carriage and horse hire business.

His schooling took place within sight of the family business at Southend infant and junior school, followed by a stint at Rushden Intermediate School which he left at 14 years old.

He started work at the Lightstrung garage where he helped with cycle maintenance and with general car care - his love of all things mechanical remained with him throughout his life including becoming the owner of many well-polished MG motor cars.

As a member of the Air Training Corps, Bill revelled in visiting the local American air bases where as well as enjoying their 'exotic' rations, he went on short flights.

After completing his National Service in the RAF, Bill finally joined the family firm in 1948, becoming the third generation to be part of the company.

It was in 1971 that Bill and his new wife Patricia expanded the car and carriage hire business to include arranging funerals as well as the transport.

Patricia said: "The first funeral was arranged with the help of Fred Bayes, who was a long-established funeral director locally and who was retiring.

"Bill, and I, together with Fred, sat around our dining room table and he showed us how to arrange a funeral.

"It was from this point that A.Abbott & Sons grew from strength to strength."

As well as being chairman of the Northamponshire Branch of the National Association of Funeral Directors on more than six occasions, Bill was a huge football fan especially of Rushden and Diamonds Football Club where he held office as vice president.

In his retirement Bill concentrated on working in his garden in Avenue Road, Rushden, holidaying, and proudly following his grandchildren's achievements.

Patricia added: "Bill taught us that life is short and to make the most of it.

"This is the last thing I can do for him. I truly believe that love's last gift is remembrance."

Bill leaves his children John and Susan and Patricia's children Michael, Beverley and Jonathan as well as grandchildren Craig, Daniel, Rebecca, Georgina, William, Amelia and George.