Bexhill says farewell to ‘Auntie Enid’ who always helped others

enid houghton obituary
enid houghton obituary

Well-known Bexhill character and carnival stalwart Enid Houghton has passed away at the age of 91.

She died peacefully in her sleep at St Nectan’s nursing home on Sunday February 22 following illness.

Enid leaves behind son Peter who lives in St Leonards.

She was born in Bexhill and spent most of her life here having met her future husband when they were youngsters at Sunday School at Springfield Road Methodist Church.

They raised their son and, Dennis being in the army, moved to Hong Kong from 1957 to 1960 but returned to Bexhill, with Enid working in the laundrette in Devonshire Road, Maidstone and District bus company on the Marina, Bexhill Hospital as an auxiliary nurse, and at the town hall in the rates and rent office.

Peter described his parents as “a devoted couple” and remembers his mum as “always busy, always doing something, and helping people out.”

Former deputy editor John Dowling writes: “In every way, Enid Houghton was the embodiment of everything that is praiseworthy about the carnival movement in general and Bexhill Carnival in particular.

“She was long-serving, loyal, enthusiastic to the point of obsession and totally committed.

“The first instalment of this extended service was her partnership with her late husband Dennis.

“Dennis’ was the rock on which the Bexhill Carnival of his era was built.

“He was the ideal secretary – organised, quietly efficient, a fount of knowledge.

“Enid was chaperone to countless Carnival Courts – a second mother to the succession of young girls who not only graced Carnival Day and social occasions in their own town but “flew the flag” for Bexhill at carnivals across a wide swathe of the south east.

“Whatever the crisis, Enid had the solution for she carried an emergency bag bulging with everything from sticking plasters to safety pins. “If a wasp flew up a Carnival Queen or Princess’ dress the victim could rely on the fact that somewhere in her emergency bag Enid had something to take the pain out of a sting.

“The relationship went deeper than that and pain-easing was not confined to wasp stings. Enid was often the court’s agony aunt, the shoulder to cry on, the friend in time of need. No wonder Enid’s ‘girls’ from carnival years long distant adored her. Enid was a tough lady.

“Though devastated by the death of her beloved Arnhem-hero husband, she continued her work as chaperone until ill-health forced her out of the picture.

“Even then she was never far away on Carnival Day or when more recent Carnival Courts were attending functions. Enid was forever contacting the Observer, seeking publicity for Bexhill Carnival.

“She could charm you or annoy you. But you could never ignore her!

“Enid was a larger-than-life character with a broad sense of humour and seemingly boundless energy.

They don’t make ‘em like that any more – more’s the pity, for with ‘Himself’ (Enid’s pet-name for Dennis) she made an immense contribution to a much-loved town institution which continues to flourish.”

Carnival’s chairman Nim Whitmarsh worked alongside Enid for 30 years and said: “The carnival was in her blood. She was a well respected lady in the carnival fraternity.

“She was very helpful - any problems with the carnival, and she was right there. I am sure she will be greatly missed.

“She was known as ‘Auntie Enid,’ and we will miss her.”

The funeral will be held at Springfield Road Methodist Church on Friday March 13 at 2.30pm. Family flowers only, donations to Springfield Methodist Church.