Southwick couple died nine days apart

A couple brought together by a shared birthday have died nine days apart.

Wednesday, 5th April 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:52 pm
Harry and Dodo Treadwell shared a birthday and died nine days apart

Harry and Dodo Treadwell were married for 67 years, having met while living in the north of England.

Although he was known as Harry, he was born Henry Treadwell on September 29, 1925, at the Bridge Hotel, Runcorn, Cheshire.

Exactly two years later, Dodo, whose real name was Doreen, was born in Golborne, Lancashire, the only child of Harold and Lillian Twist.

The couple on their wedding day, August 20, 1949

Harry, a former journalist who founded a successful publishing company in Shoreham, died on March 10 and Dodo, who once ran a shop in Shoreham, died on March 19. The funeral service was held yesterday.

Harry went to Runcorn Parish Church School for Boys. He remembered Queen Mary and King George V opening the East Lancashire Road, which joined Runcorn and Widnes, in July 1934 and standing on the edge of the road, waving his flag as they passed.

He served in the Royal Navy, joining HMS Delhi. He was involved in the Battle of Anzio, the bloodiest battle of World War Two, in January 1944 and spoke of the harrowing weeks with Luftwaffe dive-bombers harrassing the crowded beaches by day and the shipping in the bay at night.

He later joined the crew of HMS Tenderfoot, which had a special mission as the final link in an escape chain for prisoners-of-war and shot-down air crew which stretched back into central Europe and beyond.

The couple on their wedding day, August 20, 1949

His most rewarding period of service was the months he spent in the naval communications centre in the deep caves under the Rock of Gibraltar.

When he left the Navy at the age of 21, he joined Widnes Weekly News as a reporter. When Dodo met him, he was working at the Warrington Guardian and she used to visit him in his digs.

There was never a dull moment as Harry always had something interesting to tell her and when she discovered months later that they shared the same birthday, she decided to marry him, though she did not tell him at the time.

Dodo went to the local council school and started music lessons at the age of 13. She passed her degree with the London College of Music in 1949.

She and Harry were married at St Peter’s Church, Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, on August 20, 1949. Shortly afterwards, his parents bought a terraced house in Runcorn and allowed the couple to rent it.

Six months after the wedding, they took a trip to Brighton and met up with the news editor of the Sussex Daily News. Two weeks after that, he called Harry to offer him a job as the district reporter based in Shoreham.

Soon after the couple moved into Hawkins Road, Shoreham and Southwick Round Table was formed and Harry was asked to be a founder member.

As required, he left Round Table at the age of 40, in the year in which he took his turn as chairman, but was immediately invited to join Shoreham and Southwick Rotary Club.

Harry was a member for 15 years until the formation of Steyning and Henfield Rotary Club, which met in the evenings. This suited him better and he was a member there for a further 15 years.

Harry teamed up with Arthur Stubbs, a former Fleet Street photographer who had a photographic shop in Ham Road, Shoreham, to form the publishing company. As they became established, Harry was able to negotiate exclusive sales with major agencies for worldwide distribution of feature pictures and had an aeroplane on daytime standby at Shoreham Airport, covering shipping incidents and rescues in the Channel.

They took over the lease of offices in Bank House, Southwick Square, and a small office in Brunswick Road, Shoreham, came as part of the package, so Dodo, in partnership with Diana Robson, set up a shop there, The Real Thing, selling hand-made items.

The couple, who had three children, built a house on the hill at Lancing, having found the futuristic design in a book. Dodo was over the moon loved the house so much, she later had a scale model built and furnished.

Harry retired in his late 50s and they moved to Southwick.

They both enjoyed golf and bowls and the new pavilion at Adur Indoor Bowling Club in Southwick was built in the year Harry was club captain. It was at the official opening that he first met East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton.

Mr Loughton said: “Harry and Dodo Treadwell have been stalwarts of the Southwick community for years and will be sorely missed. It is so poignant that they died within a week of each other, having spent such long lives together.

“Harry was involved in so many organisations and good causes, from the local church, the Southwick Bowls Club, bridge, Sussex cricket and, of course, the Conservative Party, where he and Dodo were great strengths to me and the local association.

“He was chairman and then president of Southwick branch for many years and was also a great source of support, helped by his long and distinguished career in journalism and extensive contacts. If you had a problem, Harry was always the person to go to for wise advice, usually accompanied by a glass of champagne and a good tip for the horses.

“Dodo was also a great hostess and their beautiful garden played host to many political functions, including an event with Theresa May some years ago, where Harry always had her marked out as a future leader.

“Harry and Dodo lived life to the full and in doing so touched so many around them with their good work. I will miss them greatly.”

Harry also had a great interest in vexillology, the study of flags.

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