THE children of a woman who was once named with her late husband as "Mr and Mrs Neston" have paid tribute to their mum following her death. 

Doreen Chrimes, nee Dovey, was born in May 1930 in Derbyshire. Her father, Joseph ‘Joe’ Dovey, was head gardener at the Wingfield Manor after serving with the Royal Field Artillery caring for the horses in the First World War. Her mother Elsie was the housekeeper. 

When she was seven, Doreen and her family moved to Neston. Burton Road was her first school in Neston and at the age of 11, she won a scholarship to Wirral Grammar School.

Chester and District Standard: Doreen at Wirral GrammarDoreen at Wirral Grammar (Image: Penny Chrimes)

When she was 18, in 1948, Doreen won a place at Avery Hill teacher training college in Eltham, South East London. When her mother asked her why she needed to go so far away, she said, "Because it’s one of the best places to train, mum."

Doreen's daughter, Penny Chrimes, said: "That was always the way she lived her life, to work hard and to strive for the best, and she encouraged her own children and the children she taught to do the same."

Figure in the Neston community...

Doreen taught generations of children in Neston; first at Ness Holt Infants, Burton Road and St Winifred’s, but from the mid-sixties she taught at Woodfall Lane Primary, until she retired in 1990.

She was also regarded by the Neston Labour Party, together with her late husband, Reg Chrimes, as 'Mr and Mrs Neston'.

The couple worked together for the local community throughout their lives – he as local Labour councillor for Little Neston and she in various roles, including local party secretary.

Chester and District Standard: With son Michael on Gladstone Rd during Reg's parliamentary campaignWith son Michael on Gladstone Rd during Reg's parliamentary campaign (Image: Penny Chrimes)

Penny added: "Every campaign, every election, Doreen was out leafletting and canvassing at Reg’s side, both when he stood in parliamentary and local elections.

"They both loved Neston and were both passionate particularly about improving the life chances of every child who grew up there, Reg as a school governor at the High School and Doreen as a teacher."

Doreen returned to Neston after qualifying, and taught for three years in Liverpool from 1950-1953. During that time she met Reg, with whom she was to spend the rest of his life, until his death in September 2021.

She told the story at his funeral, at Neston Parish Church: "I had already joined the Labour Party, at college in London, but when I got to Neston I wanted to join the local party.

"I went along to the Labour Hall, in Park Street, and asked how I could help. There was a young man I caught sight of, across the room …’ It was Reg Chrimes."

Chester and District Standard: Reg and Doreen on their wedding dayReg and Doreen on their wedding day (Image: Penny Chrimes)

Penny said: "It was a love affair that defined both their lives, deep, steadfast, unwavering. The pair shared a passion for socialism, sharpened in Doreen after visiting the post-war slums of the East End.

"They married on a windy and wet December day in 1952, at Neston Parish Church and honeymooned at the Waldorf Hotel in London, until they ran out of money and had to come home after two days."

With Reg, Doreen had wonderful holidays in France and Italy; they went to theatre and opera to see whatever was on offer in Liverpool and Chester and at Theatr Clywd – they had a shared passion for socialism, for the arts, for gardening.

After Reg's death, Doreen moved to a care home in Beckenham to be close with her children Penny and Mike.

Penny said her mother "was increasingly frail, but loved seeing her four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren."

Chester and District Standard: Reg, Doreen and their oldest grandson OliverReg, Doreen and their oldest grandson Oliver (Image: Penny Chrimes)

On Sunday, September 3, Doreen died aged 93.

"We all have many many happy memories of Mum", Penny explained. 

"Great family seaside holidays in Wales, and later the Cotswolds, Scotland, London, camping in France; theatre trips. 

"She took such pleasure in sharing her passions with their grandchildren, all of whom have very precious memories of her.

"For my parents' Golden Wedding anniversary, we all went to Paris and ate wonderful food and laughed and were happy."

Speaking about her mum, Penny said: "I am enormously proud of my mother – she was one of the generation of women in the 50s and 60s who showed that it was possible to have a career and be a wonderful mother.

"She had a formidable intelligence – she was always the one to watch when it came to family board games. 

"She encouraged us all and delighted in whatever we managed to achieve. She faced all her health difficulties and grief at losing dad with such courage and stoicism. An inspiration to us all."

Michael, Doreen and Reg's son, added: "I remember her for her life-long friendships, her ability to inspire her grandchildren to be ambitious for themselves and their children and her stoicism in the face of years of chronic pain."

Chester and District Standard: Doreen ChrimesDoreen Chrimes (Image: Penny Chrimes)

Tribute from Neston MP

Justin Madders, MP for Neston and Ellesmere Port, tweeted his condolences after hearing the news of Doreen's death.

He wrote: "She and Reg were stalwarts of the Neston community for many years and their contribution is very much appreciated and very much missed."

Doreen's funeral

Doreen’s funeral will be held at the church where she married, Neston Parish Church, on Friday, October 6 at 1pm. Followed by tea and sandwiches at Neston Civic Hall, Hinderton Rd, Neston CH64 9PE. All are very welcome.

Family flowers only, donations for the Fred Venables Higher Education Trust can be made via the funeral director Charles Stephens.

The Trust was set up in memory of Fred Venables, Reg and Doreen’s friend and his colleague within Ellesmere Port and Neston Council. The trust makes awards each year to help students with high potential, who attend Neston High School and come from disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them to achieve their academic aims.