Sad News

Brenda Allely Death

“ I have been informed by one of my friends and fellow begonia growers, of the recent death of Brenda Allely, the wife of one of our past exhibitors and hybridisers,  John who we send our condolences to, together with his family, in their sad loss. Brenda always accompanied John when he was exhibiting. RIP Brenda”



Tony Reynolds

The late Tony Reynolds.

I was saddened to hear the news on the passing of my late friend Tony Reynolds, on October 14th; 2023, aged 91. 

Tony from Bedford, was a member of the N B S; Central Area .

Only a few weeks ago, I asked after Tony when I spoke to Colin Nicklin and if he had any news on Tony. Colin would make enquiries.

Coincidentally, Karl, Tony’s son, contacted Colin with the sad news about Tony.

Only a few weeks ago, on my return from Carluke, Scotland, I passed the sign for Bedford and mentioned Tony and Eileen ( Tony’s partner).

I first met Tony, at the National in 2005.

What struck me, about Tony, was his ‘Father Christmas’ beard and mob of white hair.

As a Primary school Teacher at the time, I thought he’d make an ideal Father Christmas. 

He drove a Moondust silver Mercedes-Benz, that I thought was fitting for Santa’s sleigh.

His mannerism was kind and welcoming when he spoke to me for the first time.

Tony’s best friend and companion, the late Dave Hall, were un-separatable and would always be together at the shows and N B S; meetings. 

Both, had the same interest, in growing Foliage Begonias, although best friends, they were rivals on the show bench.

If I recall correctly, a special/new class was initiated, at the National at Kings Heath, Birmingham, just to cater for Tony and Dave’s keen rivalry and close friendship. 

Two exhibitors could jointly erect a display.

From there on, probably the best alteration at the National Show (made by the committee at the time) ever made to the National schedule.

Dorothy and I, have a lot to thank both Dave and Tony for. Both asked, if I would be prepared to join the N B S; committee. 

At the time, due to my work load as a teacher, I had very little time to spare, however, at the following A G M; I was proposed by Tony, seconded by Dave ( or vis versa) and became a committee member.

The meetings were held at Catthorpe. A very long journey, from South Wales, starting and travelling home in the dark, both ways, often in the rain and fog, regularly when snow and ice covered the ground.

I’m not a very good navigator, especially in the dark, thus, Dorothy would accompany me to be my navigator ( Dorothy is an excellent navigator).

As it happened, Tony too, wasn’t good at finding places and Dave, was always sat beside him doing the navigating.

Thus, Dorothy, was co-opted onto the committee, proposed by Dave, seconded by Tony. Dorothy has remained on the committee continuously ever since. 

I have very fond memories of Tony, from the very first time I met him. 

Liked by all, a true gentleman. 

Tony will always remain in our memories fondly.

Condolences to Karl and family.

Members’ have been invited to attend Tony’s funeral.

Date. November 6th, 2023.

Venue. Bedford Crematorium. 

Time 12 :15 P M.

Ian Rhys Williams, Chairman.

John Dearn has passed away one of the NBS Lifetime Members. 20thDec 2022

Sandra Davies, South Wales Area


I was saddened to hear that Sandra Davies has passed away, a NBS Judge and excellent Exhibitor with her Husband Chris Davies .

Probably one of the best Exhibiters of Rex Begonias the NBS has seen. Our condolences and thoughts are with Chris and family.

The best example of Begonia Rex, Iron Stone, I’ve ever had the pleasure to see.

Best Exhibit in Show, at the 2022, South Wales Area Welsh Championship Show.

Grown by Sandra and Chris Davies.

Ian Rhys Williams


13th April 2022

Sorry to hear.

Brian Langdon.

I was informed by our Editor yesterday  that Brian Langdon had died.

I spoke to John Chiswell and he informed me that Brian’s funeral was a few weeks ago.

Our condolences to Brian’s family.

31 st Dec 2021

Joyce Mihulka.

Dorothy and I, were saddened to hear this morning of the sad news of the passing of Joyce Mihulka, wife of Jim Mihulka.

Joyce Mihulka, will be known by all in the Begonia world, as one of the Best Begonias that has graced the Show benches, both North and South of the border.

A beautiful begonia, named after a Beautiful Lady.

Our condolences to Jim and family.

On behalf of the National Begonia Society.

Funeral at Melrose Crematorium, Northumberland, 11th, January, at 4:00 P M., 2022.

Ian Rhys Williams,


Hi just had a phone call from Bert Nelson to let me know Joyce the wife of Jim Mihulka has died. I know many of our members will know Jim and the beautiful begonia Joyce Mihulka named after Joyce. The funeral will be at the Crematorium at Melrose, Northumberland on the 11h January at 16-00 hrs.

The whole of the National Begonia Society offer Jim and family our condolences. Our sympathies go out to all the family members.


Robert Bryce

Bereavement notice.

Ken Wilks.

I was saddened to hear that one of our Life Members’ has past away.

Ken Wilks, was known for his fantastic Hanging Baskets of Isabella, that more often than not, took the Red card.

He was a regular Exhibitor at The National Shows over many years at Kings Heath Birmingham.

Ken was a lovely character, liked by all who met him.

Our condolences to his family at this sad time.

Ian Rhys Williams.

Sad news of Ken Wilks


I had known Ken since the mid 80s, was a stalwart of the NBS for many years, apart from being an exhibitor, committee member,  was for many years responsible along with John Dearn for the storage , erection and maintenance of the bloom boards, which in the early days required fixing together using screws and then given a coat of paint, a mammoth task. Ken was a true gentlemen, always a smile on his face and willing to give assistance, he will be sadly missed by all who new him.

Best wishes 


Very sad news,  great basket grower

June and Peter Sourbutts

Sad news of Bill Dodds

On Thursday 11 March 2021 Bill Dodds the SBS Honorary President has died. He was a former British Champion and raised Isobel Keenan, Kirsty Wade, Margaret Eveleigh amongst others. He leaves behind wife Rose and family, condolences from all the within the National Begonia Society.

Robert Bryce


Bereavement notice 27/01/2021

George Ruthforth.

Peter, George’s Son phoned me to say that George had passed away, aged 83.

The former Treasurer, had been a N B S, Member for many years previously.

Our condolances, to George’s sons and family, during this sad time for them.

Ian Rhys Williams. 


On behalf of The National Begonia Society. 


Brian Simmons.

It was with great sadness, that I received the news from Brian’s two sons’, on Boxing day, that Brian Simmons had passed away, in hospital on Christmas Eve.

Brian , a Life Member and was the former Web Manager, of the National Begonia Society Web Site for decades, prior to his retirement, from that role in 2018.

Brian, was one of the Founder Members’ of The N B S, South Coast Area , in the early/mid 1970s.

To begin, he exhibited at local Horticultural Shows in Portsmouth/ Portchester Area. 

Thereafter, he exhibited at The London / Southsea Shows,with Dave Coates, for many years,displaying enormous Begonia stands,winning countless, Gold Medals,with their breathtaking displays.

Later, Brian and Dave, accompanied by their wives, Christene and Pauline and with a loyal      N B S ,Membership, organised and exhibited at the South Coast Area  Portchester Show, in a local Church Hall,which became a yearly event for many years.

Dorothy and I, first met  Brian and his wife Christene, whilst we attended the Portchester Area Show in 2007. 

Both Brian and Christine welcomed us with Open arms. 

That warm friendship will forever, be in our memories.

Our condolances are extended to Christene, John, Peter and Grandchildren.

Ian Rhys Williams.


It is with sadness, that Ron Aldous has passed on. 

Ron, until only a few years ago, was one of the Best Growers’ in Double Tuberous Pot Plants, winning several National Begonia Society, British, Seven Pot Championship Classes, at our National Shows. 

He won many other Pot Plant Classes too, often winning Best Exhibit in Show. 

He also, was a regular exhibitor at Southport Flower Show,winning The Six Pot, Double Tuberous, Classes on numerous occasions over many years. 

His presence, will be truly missed, by those who knew him. 

He will never be forgotten by those who knew him. 

Our Condolences, are sent to Ron’s Family. 

Ian Rhys Williams, 


Written by Ian Rhys Williams

Roy Sear

It was with sadness, that I heard that a former Member had passed away. 

Roy Sear’s Nephew Stephen, informed Steve Jones, who passed the news onto me. 

Roy was fondly known as the Soft Southerner. Roy often, wrote numerous articles, for the bulletin. 

He was from the South Coast Area, and each year he exhibited at the Porchester Show. That’s where I first met Roy. He was a kind hearted man and his enthusiasm for growing begonias was infectious. 

He would often telephone me seeking advice. 

He hadn’t enjoyed good health for some years, having major surgery a few times, however, he was determined to continue life as normal and continued growing and exhibiting his beloved begonias. 

My sincere condolences, were given to Stephen Roy’s Nephew and he said he’d pass the message onto his family. 

Written by Ian Rhys Williams


It is with sadness the I heard of the death of Elsie Catterall, The Widow of Dr Eric Catterall.
I knew for some years that she was still alive and living in a Care Home. For her loyal service to the NBS, at the side of her husband, she was awarded Life Membership.
It was only a week ago that Colin Nicklin emailed me saying that Richard their son had found, a few N B S, Cups, which had been misplaced for some years, in the attic of their home, when he was clearing the attic .
That’s when my thoughts were recalled of how such a major figure Erick Catterall was in the History of the N B S.
He wrote a book on Begonias, which is still in circulation today word wide. The book is among my collection of Begonia books on my shelf, which I often refer to on cold Winter nights.
Another sad loss, of a past Member, was the loss of Dennis Sweeney, aged 92,from North Wales. He was a regular exhibitor at Southport, winning the Six Pot Class on numerous times.
I met Dennis and his wife several times at Southport. Both were lovely people and helped on the Area Stand.
A few years ago, Dennis tel, me asking if I had any Flamboyant for sale. Needless to say, there was a package in the post to a loyal Member, by return of post.
It is sad to hear that other older Members’ which have been a big part of our history have past on.
Our thoughts are with the families at this sad time.