Tributes to popular guesthouse owner and church stalwart

Irena and Roy Brister outside Blue Cedar Lodge Guest House in Earlham Road, Norwich, in July 2018.

Irena and Roy Brister outside Blue Cedar Lodge Guest House in Earlham Road, Norwich, in July 2018. - Credit: Erin O'Connor

Tributes have been paid to a popular church stalwart and hard working guest house owner.

Irena Brister, 82, who ran the city's Blue Cedar Lodge Guest House in Earlham Road for around 40 years, died on November 1 at her home from cancer.

As well as running the guest house, which was in business up until her death, Mrs Brister, née Smith, was a regular at St Thomas Church in Earlham Road for more than 40 years.

Mrs Brister sang in the choir several years ago, ran a regular lunch club, which she did in her home up until two weeks before her death, and arranged flowers.

Irena Brister (far left in the front row) when she sang in the choir at St Thomas Church in Earlham Road, Norwich

Irena Brister (far left in the front row) when she sang in the choir at St Thomas Church in Earlham Road, Norwich - Credit: Sheree LaMotte

Her late husband, Roy, who started a haulage firm in the 1970s, was a church warden.

Her daughter, Sheree LaMotte, 64, from Barrett Road in Lakenham, said: "My mum was a very energetic and stoic lady. She has always been hard working.

"She will be remembered as a popular lady. She would be helpful and do something for anyone. Her passion was St Thomas. She liked doing her church work."

Most Read

Mrs Brister was born in Moulton St Mary, near Acle, and was one of nine children.

After leaving Great Yarmouth High School she worked as a nanny for a local family until marrying in 1957 aged around 18.

The newlyweds lived in Luton until returning to Norfolk in the 1960s and had four children, 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

In the 1970s they bought Willow Lodge Guest House in Earlham Road which they ran for five years.

Then they moved to a family home down the street in the 1980s, which they turned into Blue Cedar Lodge Guest House.

Mrs LaMotte said: "They turned it into a thriving business. The family was growing up and mum wanted a career change. My mum had always wanted to run a guest house. She enjoyed meeting people and made a lot of friends who would come back every year. She used to love making a good English breakfast."

She added the guesthouse was also a happy venue for family gatherings including Christmas and Valentine's Day meals and Easter egg hunts.

The fundraising Christmas coffee morning for Cancer Research UK, organised by the family of Irena Brister, from Norwich.

The fundraising Christmas coffee morning for Cancer Research UK, organised by the family of Irena Brister, from Norwich, who died in November 2021 from cancer. - Credit: Sheree LaMotte

After the funeral, the family raised £500 for Cancer Research UK at a Christmas coffee morning in her memory.