Roy Welch (1925-2009)

It is with great sadness that we report the death of our
long-standing Member, Roy Welch. Roy and his wife, Kath, were members of the North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society from its earliest days, joining at the beginning of the 1960s. For several decades they were amongst our most active and dedicated members, taking part in all fieldwork and other activities, and serving for many years as keen Committee members. They enthusiastically volunteered in our excavations at Blackhorse Road and Wilbury during the 1960s; Jack’s Hill, Coombe Bottom and the Mile Ditches in the 1970s; and Baldock in the 1980s, to give just a few examples. During that period, when volunteers were being sought, Roy and Kath were always amongst the most reliable and hard-working. In later years, when their energies were not perhaps what they once were, we could always count on them to help out with practicalities at meetings, such as setting out chairs, serving coffee and washing-up. They were invaluable.

From this you gather that Roy and Kath came as a team. They were inseparable. A few years ago, the Society made them both Honorary Members in recognition of their long service and loyalty.

Roy was born and lived all his life in Stevenage. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Navy, seeing action in several theatres,
including the allied landings in Italy and France. He and Kath married in 1945. Roy worked for British Gas or the Gas Board, as it was known in earlier days, joining from school and only interrupted by his war service.

One of the most endearing things about Roy was his quick sense of humour. He could always see the funny side of any situation. His innocent humour enlivened many a day’s digging, fieldwalking, potwashing, or outing, and caused both us and him to have a good chuckle as he kept us all amused. He was an excellent tonic for team spirit and morale, for instance, when the digging got difficult or the weather was wet, cold or otherwise inclement. We shall miss him very much indeed.

Roy died on 16th April and his funeral was held on 28th April in Stevenage. He was 83. Our deepest sympathies go to Kath and her family at their great loss.

Kath continues to live in Sish Lane, Stevenage, in their home since 1947. We very much look forward to seeing her again at our meetings in future.

As a token tribute, at our meeting in the Howard Hall of 28th April 2009, our Chairman, Diane Burleigh, dedicated the lecture of the evening to Roy’s memory. This was given by Dr Ben Roberts of the British Museum on ‘Keeping Up Appearances: understanding Prehistoric Jewellery in Britain and beyond’. An audience of over 40 members listened with great interest and attention as evidenced by the large number of questions Dr Roberts answered at the end. Roy would have appreciated it all immensely and no doubt would have chuckled over something amusing he’d noticed!