Daughter remembers outgoing Chris who 'had wicked sense of humour'

Christine Bushell of Burwell

Christine Bushell, known as 'Chris', grew up in Cambridge before moving to Burwell where she had numerous roles. - Credit: Family

A woman has paid tribute to her mother and villager who was “exuberant and had a wicked sense of humour”. 

Christine Bushell, known as ‘Chris’, grew up in Cambridge and moved to Burwell where she had numerous roles, as well as regularly attending church and a passion for cooking. 

Her daughter Judith said: “She was a great observer, she loved people and was very frugal.” 

Chris died aged 85 on July 20. 

Born on January 27, 1937, Chris grew up in Cambridge where her father worked while head chef at Keys College (Gonville & Caius – but usually known simply as ‘Keys’).

Christine Bushell of Burwell

From school dinner lady to a doctors' receptionist, Chris held many roles while a villager in Burwell. - Credit: Family


“He spent some of his youth in World War Two and kept a photo of mum in his pocket for the whole time,” said Judith. 

After attending Cambridge High School for Girls, where she met long-time friend Effie, Chris trained to become a secretary at insurance firm Prudential in the city. 

This is where Chris met another lifelong friend in Val, who knew her and Chris’ late husband Barrie whom she met aged 18 before moving to East Cambridgeshire. 

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“Mum got married at 20 and lived in Waterbeach for five years,” Judith said. 

Christine Bushell of Burwell

Chris was described by her daughter Judith as "exuberant and had a wicked sense of humour". - Credit: Family

“Mum was very lively, sociable and had a few jobs in Burwell.” 

As well as a school dinner lady, Chris was also a receptionist at Burwell Surgery and helped put pamphlets together for fellow villagers. 

The mother-of-three was keen on cooking, too. 

“It was all homemade food; we always had cooked breakfast, made her own bread and taught us to do the same,” Judith recalled. 

“In her younger years, she used to do line and country dancing.” 

Christine Bushell of Burwell and family

Chris alongside late husband Barrie and family. Christmastime was a time of year that Judith said her mother would spend weeks to plan. - Credit: Family

Chris, a keen dog lover, went to Burwell Baptist Church and All Saints Church in Newmarket often. 

And she was determined to make Christmastime all the more memorable. 

“Mum would plan for weeks; she would make homemade sweets involving us,” Judith said.  

A well-known face in Burwell, Chris liked to dress in her favourite colour purple and featured in many a family photo in front of hers and Barrie’s walnut tree. 

Judith added: “Mum was exuberant and had a wicked sense of humour.” 

Chris is survived by children Judith, Daniel and Ali, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 

A funeral service will take place at All Saints Church, Newmarket on August 25 at 12pm. 

Those attending are encouraged to wear a form of purple and donations can be made to the Primary Biliary Cholangitis Foundation, Tear Fund and Alzheimer’s Society