Family’s tribute to Biggleswade Chronicle correspondent Chris

Chris in the Chronicle; and right,  dressed as Andy Pandy in 1983
Chris in the Chronicle; and right, dressed as Andy Pandy in 1983

Former Biggleswade Chronicle typist and news correspondent, Christine (Chris) Chessum, has died aged 79.

Her family wished to publish the following tribute:

“Christine was born to parents May and Claude Housden on December 2, 1939, and the family lived in Stratton Way, Biggleswade.

“Claude was a milkman before working as a manager for Unigate, and sometimes Christine would go to work with her father, helping to deliver milk on a horse and cart. Those were the days when customers would come out with their jugs to collect milk from churns.

“Her mother was originally from Paglesham (Near Southend) in Essex and Christine often returned there a couple of weeks each suffer to stay with relatives.

“As a child, Christine attended the Infant’s School in Rose Lane, the Church School in Shortmead Street and the Senior School in Rose Lane.

“She left school at 15 having taken shorthand and typing lessons with Mr and Mrs Lund. At Senior School she had been Editor of the School ‘Searchlight’.

“Christine’s first job after leaving school was as an office junior at J W Austins in Hitchin Street, and then she worked at Smart & Browns where she met her husband Colin, who she married in February 1960.

“She later left to have her children Celia and John.

“Christine was a member, then secretary, of Biggleswade Carnival for approximately 15 years. She often took part in the carnival procession, dressing up as Andy Pandy, Wee Willie Winkie, and a jester, to mention a few.

“She was also treasurer of the Biggleswade History Society. During the carnival week Celia often used to say she had to ‘make an appointment’ to see her mother who was kept so busy with the activites!

“Christine joined the Chronicle office in 1991 as a typist and continued to be the Biggleswade news correspondent for a number of years following retirement.

“This was something she really enjoyed, and she was very committed to reporting news for the local clubs.

“Christine really enjoyed Sports and Athletics and one of the best experiences of her life was going to 2012 Olympics where she witnessed a number of events, including Usain Bolt winning the 200m heat and seeing GB Ladies Hockey Team win their Bronze Medal. In her youth she belonged to Beds Road Cycling Club, was captain of “The Swans” Netball Club on Beeston and also played football in the Smart & Brown’s Ladies Team.

“As a girl Christine was a Brownie, and a Guide and enjoyed many Guide Camps at Old Warden and Happisborough in Norfolk. As an adult she maintained her interest in Guiding and on occasions visited her daughter’s Brownie Pack to talk about Guiding in the 1950s and living in Singapore.

“Christine was also a grandmother to Helen, Rachel, Elizabeth, Emma, and Stuart and great-grandmother to Zara, Jessica and Jenson. Christine and Colin continued to live in Biggleswade until 2006 when they moved to Sandy to be near their daughter.

“In the last few years Christine suffered declining health, and following a stroke in April, was cared for at Lister Hospital, The Marbrook Centre, Home, Bedford Hospital and Beaumont Nursing Home.

“She passed away on October 14.”

Funeral arrangements: Bedford Crematorium, Wednesday, October 30, at 10.45am.