Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Bertram Bray

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 02 November 1895
We deeply regret to have to announce the death of Mr. Bertram Bray, fourth surviving son of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Bray, and brother of Alderman John Bray, Mr. Arthur Bray, and Mr. Albert Bray, of this town, and Mr. Walter Bray, who now resides at Windsor.  The sad event took place somewhat suddenly at the deceased gentleman's residence, 7, St. Peter's-road.  Mr. Bray had been ailing for some years, having had several attacks of influenza, and suffering from a complication of disorders, but with noteworthy courage and determination he kept about, and performed his duties as rate collector and organist at St. Peter’s Church.  Indeed, as recently as last Sunday morning he played at Divine service.  He was taken ill on the previous Thursday while conducting a choir practice, but seemed to recover, and attended to his office on Monday.  On Tuesday he grew worse, but appeared better on Wednesday and Thursday.  On the evening of the last day one of his brothers was with him until about 9.15, and left him without any apprehensions, but soon afterwards the patient became worse, and passed away shortly after ten o'clock.  He was attended by Drs. Hewland and Ballingall.  Mr. Bray leaves a widow and one little girl, aged ten, with whom and his brothers, sincere sympathy will be felt

Young Bertram Bray began life clerk in the Hastings Post Office, which after several yean he left when Mr. John Bray opened his business at White Rock, to take charge of the Post Office Inland Revenue, and railway booking departments there, subsequently going to the Colonnade branch, where he remained until 1886, when he secured the appointment of rate collector for the largest district in the borough, extending from the Palace Hotel to the Bull Inn at Bulverhythe.

Always fond of church and sacred music, and possessed of considerable musical talent, he rendered excellent service at various places in the borough as organist.  In large measure he was self taught, but had been one of Dr. Abram's pupils.  Before the Iron Fort passed into the possession of the Salvationists he played the organ there, in Dr. May's time, was organist at All Saints' Church during part of 1881 and 1882, had done temporary duty most of the churches in the borough, especially in the western end, and for the last years had been organist and choirmaster at St. Peter's, officiating in similar capacity in the preceding three years in the school where what is now St. Peter's congregation worshipped prior to the erection of the church. He formed and trained the choir there with most successful results.

When Alderman Bray was re-organising the Conservative party, Bertram Bray became the first secretary of the new Association at West St. Leonards and Bulverhythe, and he had also acted as secretary for the St. Mary Magdalen Association.  In such matters, indeed, he was Mr. John Bray's right-hand man, doing a great deal towards the success achieved by the worthy Alderman.  The deceased gentleman, who was in his 40th year, was greatly esteemed by all who knew him.  His kindly temperament and readiness to help whenever he could be of service winning him host of friends. St. Peter's clergy and congregation in particular, and the borough in general, will deeply deplore the loss of useful and worthy citizen.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 09 November 1895
At St. Peter's Church, on Sunday morning, the Rev. F. G. Hughes (vicar) asked that the prayers and sympathies of the congregation might be extended to the widow, child, and relations of their beloved organist, Mr. Bertram Bray, who had lately been called to his rest.  The rev. gentleman remarked that in his long and faithful service of 12 years Mr. Bray had endeared himself to clergy, choir, and to all who had been brought into contact with him.  ………..

The Rev. B. Lethbridge (curate) preached……. the rev. gentleman said he could not let this opportunity pass without referring to one who, at the end of last week, had passed away to his rest —he meant the late organist of the church.  ……. all who knew him could say he was a God-loving and a God-fearing man.

The whole of their sympathies would be extended to the widow and little child, as well the brothers. It was beautiful to see how the family were bound together in the bonds of love. ……..

In the evening the pulpit was occupied by the Vicar, who, in the course of his sermon, referring to the call of God, said that this call had come to them very lately.  Not many days ago they were mourning the loss of a good Bishop; that day they had to mourn the loss of their organist, who had been with them since the church was opened.  The rev. gentleman referred to the late Mr. Bray as a man of godly character, both in his public and in his home life, and to whom would be said, he thought, those words of commendation : Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."…….

The remains of the late Mr. Bertram Bray were laid to rest on Wednesday at the Borough Cemetery. The first part of the service was held at St. Peter's Church, where he had laboured for so many years organist………..  Following the clergy came the mourners, including : Mrs. Bertram Bray (widow), leaning on the arm of Alderman Bray (brother), and by her side walked the deceased's only child, Miss Bertha Bray ; Mrs. John Bray and. Mrs. Edge (sisters-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Albert Bray, Mr.and Mrs. Arthur Bray, the Misses Daisy, Ethel, May, and Gertrude and Master John, daughters and son of Alderman Bray, Mr. Albert J. Bray (nephew), and Miss Cissey Bray (niece). …..

The wreaths and crosses numbered 42, including one from the choir.  Both the clergy and almost all the choir followed to the Cemetery, notwithstanding the rough weather. The Vicar and Curate conducted the service at the grave, and the hymn, " Let saints on earth in concert sing With those whose work is done," was very impressively rendered.  The funeral arrangements were carried out most satisfactory manner by Mr. J. H. Weatherseed, of 70, Bohemia-road.