Mrs Carmella Riddell

THE first Catholic requiem mass in the Stump since the Reformation took place on Friday for the funeral of charity founder and tireless fundraiser Carmella Riddell.

Mrs Riddell, whose death at 86 was reported in last week's Boston Standard, was a member of St Mary's Roman Catholic Church and the service was conducted by Father John Younger, of St Mary's, and the Rev Bill Page, vicar of Sibsey, who is chairman of the Jalchatra Project – the charity founded 31 years ago by Mrs Riddell, of Freiston Road, Boston.

In her years as project organiser, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised in Boston and sent to the Jalchatra province of Bangladesh to provide irrigation, clean water supplies, medical and educational facilities.

On one of her three visits to the province, Mrs Riddell had been accompanied by the BBC's social affairs correspondent, Barnie Choudhury, and Neil McCafferty, of BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

A tribute written by Mr Choudhury and read at the service said he first met Mrs Riddell in 1999 because of 'a mad idea to take some pensioner to the jungles of Bangladesh and film her doing some charitable work'.

His tribute went on: "Like most of the things in my life, I just went along for the ride. But what a journey this time around.

"I was absolutely humbled when introduced to this charming, softly spoken lady.

"But boy could she talk. Yet you hung on every word. Each phrase a gem. A pearl of wisdom here and a dose of common sense there. Her passion. Her enthusiasm. Completely infectious.

"All for some orphans on a different continent five thousand miles away that she'd spent years helping."

He continued: "Let's not forget she had collected money for her charity by organising tea mornings and bring-and-buy sales at her local church.

"No doubt chiding the young and bullying her colleagues with her trade-mark twinkle in her eye and smile on her face.

"And that's how I'll always remember her: a lady who served others with humility, never once looking for recognition. The thought she'd helped so many was reward enough."

The Stump clergy waived the parish church's share of the collection at the funeral, and around 2,000 was raised for Jalchatra.

Chief family mourners were Mary, Sheila, Maddi and John Riddell (daughters and son), John Shute, Ken Sorbie, Simon Sandberg, Julie Lane (sons-in-law and daughter-in-law), Annie Sorbie and Ben Jessop (granddaughter and fianc), Jack and Joe Shute, Bella Sorbie, Eleanor and Lottie Sandberg, Ella and Millie Riddell (grandchildren), Charles and Bill Brett (brothers), Anne Pilkington (niece), Joyce Sandberg.

Arrangements by Carr Funeral Service.