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‘A gift to the world’: Beloved volunteer and selfless town hero remembered

PUBLISHED: 15:55 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:01 26 February 2020

Graham Norgate had for the last decade been working as a volunteer at the Beccles Lido and a number of foodbanks. Photo: Beccles Lido

Graham Norgate had for the last decade been working as a volunteer at the Beccles Lido and a number of foodbanks. Photo: Beccles Lido

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A much-loved town ‘hero’ who died from leukaemia has had tributes made to him as friends and family remembered his legacy as ‘Mr Beccles Lido’.

Graham Norgate with the new Beccles Lido entrance sign.  For: Vic NichollsGraham Norgate with the new Beccles Lido entrance sign. For: Vic Nicholls

Graham Norgate died on Wednesday, February 19, aged 73 after a shock diagnosis of leukaemia three months ago.

He had for the last decade been working as a volunteer at the Beccles Lido where he was a familiar face to visitors and colleagues.

He also spent years working at food banks in the town, having been described by his friends as "selfless" and "a gift to the world".

Beccles lido is a popular place to be as temperatures soar across Norfolk and Suffolk. Picture: Neil DidsburyBeccles lido is a popular place to be as temperatures soar across Norfolk and Suffolk. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Mr Norgate was originally from Cromer but spent a large part of his life in Beccles after moving to the town in 1979.

Carl Murray, a maintenance worker at Beccles Lido and friend of Mr Norgate, said: "I've known him for eight years and I am proud to call him my friend.

"He spent his entire life helping other people, and did everything, anything that needed doing.

Shaun Crowley and Graham Norgate prepare the Beccles Lido ready for the new 2015 season.Shaun Crowley and Graham Norgate prepare the Beccles Lido ready for the new 2015 season.

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"He's a real loss not just to us [at the lido], but to the town. He was here from the start ten years ago, and if it wasn't for him, none of this would have happened."

An electrician by trade, with a 'fantastic' mind for engineering, Mr Norgate put in hours of work every day into the town's lido.

Shaun Crowley and Graham Norgate prepare the Beccles Lido ready for the new 2015 season.Shaun Crowley and Graham Norgate prepare the Beccles Lido ready for the new 2015 season.

"He put his heart and soul into it," Mr Murray said.

Sam Norgate, Mr Norgate's son, added: "It was a pleasure to see how many people visited him in his last days.

"My dad was always patient - just a calm and strong man. He was the sort of bloke who would look after your town and the people in it, with his hands all over the place.

Graham Norgate (right) and Graham Elliott digging up the side of the Beccles Lido to find a leak.
Photo: Andy DarnellGraham Norgate (right) and Graham Elliott digging up the side of the Beccles Lido to find a leak. Photo: Andy Darnell

"He never wanted the limelight, he was a shy man really, but the lido in recent years meant a lot to him. If anyone wants to support him go support them."

Beccles Lido said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of our long-time volunteer and in every way 'Mr Beccles Lido', Graham Norgate.

"Our sincere condolences and sympathies are with his family and friends and all who knew him."

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