Brian Lendon Berry (1928–2011)
(ABCS 1940–1947)
Brian in 1995. (Brian is on the right)

Brian, born at the end of 1928, was the second of the three Berry brothers1 to pass through the Aberdare Boys County School between 1938 and 1947. They were the sons of Herbert Lendon Berry2 (Bert) and Glynelen (Lyn), née Protheroe; and life for them in the 1930s was somewhat spartan. After at least five changes of rented accommodation during Brian’s early boyhood the family moved, in 1939, to a house in Tudor Terrace, which they were later to be able to purchase. Now, 2010, the house is still in the Berry family.

From that address Brian and his brother David went to Park Boys School, from where Brian, in 1940, passed the entrance exam to the County School, coming second out of the whole valley. Unlike many former pupils who look upon their schooldays as the happiest of their lives, this was not the case for Brian apart from his enthusiasm for sport and athletics, in which, in his senior years, he represented the School in inter–school contests in the 110 yards hurdles and the medley relay race, where he ran the 220 yards leg. Brian left school, from 6A Science in 1947, to do his National Service in H.M. Forces.

Brian’s ambition was always to go on to study at one of the veterinary colleges, but on applying for a place he found that, due to the huge influx of ex-servicemen following the end of the war, the first place he was offered would not be until six years after his demobilisation from his National Service. That was obviously too long a period to have to wait, so he followed his Aunt, Rhona Protheroe, into the profession of Chiropody3. He spent his student days, in college in London, with his aunts in Surrey, with whom he had been fostered from four to nine years old. “The aunties” were H.L. Berry’s older sister Elsie and her lifelong friend Beth, who eventually became the stepmother to the three boys.

Towards the end of his final year at college Brian was able to purchase a small nucleus of a private practice in Surbiton, also in Surrey, where he was extremely happy for nearly twenty years. Early on in this time he joined the Kingston upon Thames branch of the Society of Chiropodists, in which, during his time with the branch he served it as Chairman, and then as Treasurer. He was also the branch representative to the South East committee of representatives from the branches stretching from Norfolk across and down to Bournemouth, until 1968 when he was elected to the Council of the Society of Chiropodists.

Throughout his twenty-one years on Council, Brian served the whole time on the editorial committee, which produced the monthly professional journal. In 1978 he was elected to the Chair of the committee, taking the journal from its rather parochial ethos to its being an international journal, being sent eventually to about three dozen countries outside the UK. Throughout his twenty-one years on Council he also served for the whole time on the Ethical Committee, the Public Relations Committee and the Benevolent Fund. When the Health and Safety laws came into being the Council created its Health and Safety Committee, which Brian chaired until his promotion to the Editorial Chair.

In 1978 he oversaw the changing of the title of the journal from The Chiropodist to the Journal of British Podiatric Medicine. Around that time he was invited to serve on the editorial committee for The Foot – the three-monthly journal of the BOFSS – the British Orthopaedic Foot Surgery Society.

Brian at School
Brian whilst at School

In 1988 Brian stood down from Council and took on the full-time post of Editor of the journal and Publicity Officer for the Society, which had, by this time become the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. In this latter role he was interviewed regularly on TV and radio, and by numerous newspapers and journals, usually on his specialist topics of children’s feet and footwear.

In 1993 Brian was elected Honorary Vice-President of the Society in recognition of his service on Council, and a couple of years later he was presented with the Society’s Meritorious Award in recognition of his service to the profession as a whole.

Brian gave up his private practice to care for his first wife during her final years. After her death in 1973, Brian became a single parent of a young daughter. To cope with his new situation, he joined the lecturing staff at one of the two colleges teaching chiropody in London, enabling him to have holidays at times similar to those of his daughter. He stayed on the lecturing team for fifteen years, during which time he was able to study successfully for a BEd degree in Further and Higher Education.

Brian on the Prom in Aberystwyth,<br> 1946
Brian & his dog Pete on The Prom in Aberystwyth,

From 1952 until 1966, Brian served in the Territorial Army, in the 21st SAS Regiment (Artists Rifles), making nearly a hundred parachute descents. During this time he was able to become an instructor in the St John Ambulance Brigade. Both he and his younger brother David had taken their earlier St John exams during their first years in School, under the instruction of “Jones the Caretaker3,” who taught many junior boys of the School in first-aid.

Brian’s hobbies included being a youth club leader for about twenty years in his local church, and showing pedigree soft-coated wheaten and border terriers. In his retirement he sat, for about twelve years, on his local council’s Education Appeals and Exclusions Committees.

In 2010, Brian lives quietly in Surrey with his second wife, and two dogs. He enjoys the regular visits of his two daughters.

One year after we compiled this account of Brian’s career, we heard that he had died following a short illness. His funeral service took place at the North East Surrey Crematorium on July 22nd, 2011.

1 When the third Berry brother arrived, H.I. (Jimmy) James, the biology master, quipped, “Good heavens, how many more drupes are there?”

2 Brian’s father, H.L. Berry, was also a pupil of the school, he attended from 1910 to 1914. He was the grandson of the well-known Aberdare photographer Joseph Lendon Berry. Elizabeth Dorothy Berry, Brian’s aunt, also arrived at the school in 1910. Altogether about ten members of this family attended the school in Trecynon.

3 Rhona Protheroe’s practice was in Victoria Square overlooking the Cenotaph.

4 David Jones was not only the school’s caretaker, but an indispensable member of the non-teaching staff of the school. As well as instructing the first-aid class he also provided the first-aid care for boys and staff in the days when the non-teaching staff numbered just two: the Headmaster’s Secretary and the Caretaker. Headmasters and staff have universally praised the loyalty of ‘Davy Jones’ and valued his practical and diplomatic skills highly. He can be seen in the panoramic pictures on this website and in the picture that commemorates the planting of the Coronation tree in 1953.