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Man desperate to find Barking woman Beverley Spratt in final gift to dying wife

PUBLISHED: 09:47 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:23 12 June 2020

Bill and Maureen Dabell pictured on their wedding day in 1972. Bill is desperate to track down the lady who introduced the pair, Beverley Spratt, who worked with Maureen in Killwicks furniture shop in the early 70's. Picture: Bill Dabell

Bill and Maureen Dabell pictured on their wedding day in 1972. Bill is desperate to track down the lady who introduced the pair, Beverley Spratt, who worked with Maureen in Killwicks furniture shop in the early 70's. Picture: Bill Dabell

Archant

Bill Dabell is appealing to the Barking and Dagenham public to help track down the woman who introduced him to his now-terminally ill wife, Maureen.

Maureen Dabell (formerly Sewell), born and raised in Barking, pictured with her bridesmaids. The young girl is Donna Huckle, the daughter of Maureen's friend who Bill hopes may be able to help him find Beverley Spratt. Picture: Bill DabellMaureen Dabell (formerly Sewell), born and raised in Barking, pictured with her bridesmaids. The young girl is Donna Huckle, the daughter of Maureen's friend who Bill hopes may be able to help him find Beverley Spratt. Picture: Bill Dabell

The couple — now married for almost 49 years — live in Rotherham, but were introduced almost 50 years ago in Barking by Beverley Spratt.

Maureen, now 74, was born and raised in Barking; first in London Road, then on the Thames View estate. Yorkshireman Bill, two years Maureen’s junior, met his wife through working in London on the railways.

He’s desperate to find Beverley as a final gift to his wife, following her terminal diagnosis with heart failure.

The couple met on Easter Saturday in 1971 at the now-defunct Brewery Tap pub in Barking, where Beverley invited Bill to a housewarming party in Ilford.

What Bill didn’t know was that Maureen Sewell, as she was then – Beverley’s colleague from the now-closed furniture shop Killwicks – would also be at this party. Maureen was in her mid-twenties when she worked at the Barking branch, with Beverley around five years younger.

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Bill laughs that it wasn’t all plain sailing for him and Maureen. Although he took an immediate shine to her, she wouldn’t entertain him at first because of his long hair.

However, once he discovered that Maureen preferred dating tall men — she was 5ft 8 — he knew, at 6ft 5, he was in with a chance.

The couple wed in early 1972, with Beverley in attendance, though the nuptials were brought forward by what Bill terms a “happy accident”.

A longer gap was intended between engagement — on Maureen’s birthday in August 1971 — and marriage, but news of an imminent arrival accelerated the plans.

Maureen’s bridal party included the daughter of Maureen’s friend, a little girl called Donna Huckle.

The move to Rotherham saw Beverley lose touch, though Bill says she’s often spoken of as the woman who helped shape both their lives.

Before Maureen dies, Bill wants to find her. Can you help find Beverley Spratt? If you know her, email us at cash.boyle@archant.co.uk and we will put you in touch with Bill.


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