14:18 Wednesday 09 January 2013

End of an era as Katie passes

Written byBY ROB SMYTH

THE last member of a family entwined in the history of Burton has passed away.

Katie Jerrison was described as a ‘popular’ figure and was part of the famous Jerrison family, which held a stall at the town’s market for 200 years.

She died just days before her 92nd birthday on the eve of Christmas surrounded by friends at Rider House Care Home, in Stapenhill Road.

She was born on December 23, 1920, in Burton and would proudly refer to herself as a ‘Burtonion’.

Her father Jack died when she was 11 and she overcame this tragedy to attend school in Guild Street.

She was a Catholic and was a regular churchgoer until recent years when ill health prevented her.

After leaving school, she joined the family business which was famous for selling poultry and fish on Burton market. Before becoming market traders, the family ran amusements.

She went on to spend decades working on the stall with her brother Jack and even assumed the distinguished role of president of the association of fishmongers.

Mrs Jerrison, who lived in Branston Road for many years, suspended her time working on the markets to help out during the Second World War as an ambulance driver.

She also ferried patients from Staffordshire’s worst ever man-made disaster – the Fauld explosion - on November 27, 1944.

The event saw 70 people die when 4,000 tonnes of bombs stored underground were detonated.

Debris from what remains the largest explosion ever recorded in the UK rained down on Burton, and the blast was heard hundreds of miles away.

Mrs Jerrison was also well known for her time spent taking part in fancy dress contests of the original series of Burton Theatre Arts Balls.

In 1978, she married Charles Pedley, who worked in the motor trade, and left the town to start a new life in Blackpool.

However, tragedy struck only one month after they were married Mr Pedley suddenly died.

Mrs Jerrison – who known as Mrs Pedley during her month of married life – subsequently returned home to Burton.

She returned to help with the market until the family business sold its last fish on April 28, 1982. Mrs Jerrison and her brother Jack had been working on the market stall for 52 years.

Over the years, the stall featured a host of products including rabbit, potatoes, carrots, onions and fruit. A particular favourite among customers was rabbit skin, which would have set you back four pence.

A Mail advert, printed in the 1920s, showed that for two shillings (10p) Jerrison’s would supply one large rabbit, five pounds of potatoes, two pounds of onions and bunches of radishes and spring onions.

During her later life, she enjoyed attending a vast variety of social events, long cruises and liked to partake in the odd gin and tonic or glass of Bells whiskey.

She did not have any children but spent a lot of time with her good friend Val Thornton.

She was described by friends as ‘never losing the sense and always searching for a deal’.

As she is laid to rest today for the final time, following a service at St Mary and St Modwens Catholic Church, so will the name of Jerrison, so long associated with the town of Burton.

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