Farewell to ‘trouper’ Christine

Christine Bellamy playing the milk bottles at her 60th birthday bash at Baldwins Omega with the Adam Pemberton Yorkshire teabags skiffle band.
Christine Bellamy playing the milk bottles at her 60th birthday bash at Baldwins Omega with the Adam Pemberton Yorkshire teabags skiffle band.

Christine Bellamy crammed a lot into her 70 years.

There was her joyous, raucous side. For the last 10 years, she sang and played musical saw, swannee whistle, kazoo and tambourine, often in care homes, with the Yorkshire Teabags Skiffle Band.

Christine was always the star, with big orange ribbons in her hair, encouraging residents to join in.

She can also claim to be the first person to play musical saw on the Crucible stage!

But her death from cancer at the age of 70 has also prompted tributes that run much deeper.

Christine was an enthusiastic actor, sang in a Bach choir and with an opera company, performing at the Crucible and Lyceum. She was part of the Sheffield Film Co-op, which made the Women of Steel film 30 years ago.

After her career as lecturer in media production at Lincoln University, she continued to be a volunteer with the Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and SHIFT, which helps young people who are not in education or training to acquire work skills.

“This is only a taste of what Christine did,” said her partner, Adam Pemberton.

Many of the cards received by her family use the words ‘bubbly’ and ‘passionate’, he said. “Everybody remembers Christine.”

Certainly, she will not be forgotten as a member of the skiffle band keeping alive the music of Lonnie Donegan with numbers such as Rock Island Line and My Old Man’s a Dustman. The group has played across Sheffield and Yorkshire.

“Christine was instrumental in getting the band to play in many of the care homes in the area, where audiences, on instruments made by Christine, joined in very enthusiastically, on songs from their youth. On one occasion, at Christmas, Christine was able to persuade a lady, who we were told had not spoken a word for six months, to join the band singing Silent Night. She sang like a bird and was photographed doing so by the astonished staff.”

Christine, who lived in Nether Edge, was performing with the band up to last August. “She was a trouper. She made a lot of people happy over a long period.”

Adam added: “She was a feminist and part of a movement that started to do interesting and important things. She kept that to the end.”

Christine leaves daughters Sarah and Mary. The funeral will be at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium on Tuesday at 1pm.