Your tributes to those who have died with coronavirus
- Credit: ARCHANT
More than 120,000 lives have been lost to coronavirus in the UK - victims of a pandemic that has claimed over 1,800 lives in Norfolk and Waveney alone during the past twelve months.
The Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News invited families and friends to remember their loved ones who have died during the Covid pandemic.
Here are some of the people whose stories have been shared by their loved ones.
Dean Kingston, 52, Great Yarmouth
Dean Kingston was a proud father to five daughters and seven grandchildren. He died on April 8, 2020.
His daughter, Sarah Kingston, said: “He worked most of his life in casinos, including both Great Yarmouth casinos where he met his first wife and had four daughters. He was always the life and soul of every party with his large character and even larger voice and made friends wherever he went.
“He travelled lots of the world for work and met his second wife and had a fifth daughter in South Africa, before moving away from Great Yarmouth. He visited often to see his children and grandchildren and every time he would drag us all to the market to have pie and peas, and chips - his absolute favourite thing about Great Yarmouth apart from his loving daughters.
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“Covid cruelly took his life and it has left a huge hole in all our lives. He will be forever missed by all of the Kingston family. We will keep up his tradition of pie and peas, and chips whenever we visit the market place, and make sure his memory lives on.”
Owen Nisbet, 82, Norwich
The family of Owen Nisbet have paid tribute to a "kind and funny gentleman” who “always looked on the bright side of life”. He died on January 18 this year.
Originally from London, he moved to north Norfolk in the 1970s with his young family. He was a retired fine arts valuer and auctioneer who spent more than 25 years working at Dee, Atkinson and Harrison in Driffield, East Yorkshire.
His family said: “Owen was a much-loved dad to Simon, James, Isla and Hannah, and granddad or “Pom Pom”, as he was affectionately called, to Ethan, Florrie, Isla and Dorothy.
"As children we have many fond memories of family adventures - bike rides with Hannah nestled in the basket of a butcher's bike, trips around the garden in the trailer of the lawnmower, walks in Lion’s Mouth, growing veg, dahlias, and the fun of keeping chickens.
“In Driffield, he was something of a local celebrity with a slot on BBC Humberside, featuring in Flog It, Bargain Hunt, and Life’s Laundry.
"He had a huge love of antiques and interesting artefacts and when retired and moved back to Norfolk, to be close to his children and grandchildren. He loved nothing more than scouring charity shops and car boots with an eager eye to see what treasures he could find.
“He had a huge passion and talent for writing poetry using the written word to capture, express, and reflect. In 2010 he published Wordscapes: A collection of poems. He was fond of a crossword and loved the races, popping a bet on most days. We have many memories of exciting trips to the races.
“He loved a glass of red and, in his prime, loved a good party. He had a great sense of humour and a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
"He was forever playing tricks on his grandchildren, and one particular occasion he hid a musical frog in the drive in the undergrowth that ribbited when we walked past. It drove us mad for days.
“He was a true gentleman. Proud, fiercely independent with a bright, intellectual mind. He was kind, funny and always looked on the bright side of life. He will be deeply missed by family and friends alike.”
Cynthia Blackwell, 92, Great Yarmouth
The former swimming club treasurer, Cynthia Blackwell, who volunteered for over 30 years, died on December 23, 2020.
Steven Blackwell paid tribute to his mum and said he cherished the last few months they spent together.
He said: “Although mum was 92, she was generally healthy and we were convinced she still had so much time ahead. Having spent many years caring for my late father, it was now time for us to care for her, but those years have all been stolen.
“Born into the austerity of the Great Depression and then the Second World War, mum had a lucky escape as a child when German aircraft dropped a bomb near her school. She survived, and on turning 16 she started 20 years at Midland Bank, working at a different branch each week as cover for staff on holiday or off sick.
“During this time, mum developed a wide circle of friends and throughout the 1950s travelled extensively throughout the UK and Europe.
“My parents married in Great Yarmouth in 1964 and in the subsequent few years me and my sister were born.
“Mum was crafty, doing basketwork and pottery, and also green-fingered, growing houseplants and vegetables, especially tomatoes and beans. So many beans that school summer holidays seem to have been spent slicing them up for the freezer.
"She threw herself into voluntary work, treasurer of the local swimming club for 30 years, plus, alongside my dad, selling photos of old Yarmouth to raise funds for local charities.
"In later years, mum also took a keen interest in her grandchildren following their blossoming careers as a wind turbine technician and a sports therapist.
“Come lockdown last March my job transferred to working from home and I moved back to Great Yarmouth full-time to support mum. Looking back now, it was eight months to cherish.
"Silly things like watching the birds in the garden birdbath or growing a solitary tomato plant on the kitchen windowsill. We traced our family tree going forward, managing to track down all our long lost 'cousins', and we watched again all 124 episodes of mum’s favourite, Midsomer Murders.
"And as I continue now to work from home, mum’s house seems so empty and so on into the future for all those lost years.”
Susan York-Bushell, 62, King’s Lynn
Victoria York-Harrod paid tribute to her mum, Susan York-Bushell, who died on April 24, 2020.
She said: “Mum’s life was her family. We enjoyed holidays as a whole family and we all lived together as we are such a close family. Mum’s death has left the most massive hole in our lives as we all still lived at home with mum, so we now have her empty chair. That is just awful.
“Mum has left behind her husband Les, daughters Victoria and Susannah, and only son Kenny, sons-in-law Gordon and Adam, daughter-in-law Vicky and grandchildren Libby, Maisie, Abby, and Annie. She also left behind her only sister, Sheila.”
Granddad “Bobo”, 86, East Rudham, near Fakenham
Laura Waterfield paid tribute to her “most-loving” Granddad Bobo, who ran his own wood work business for many years, after he died April 10, 2020.
She said: “He absolutely loved to sing. He was the most loving granddad, dad, husband, great-granddad. Him and Nan would take all the grandkids on holiday and spoil them rotten. He also owned a camper van and would teach us to play rummy and Uno. We would play for hours."
Pauline Spelman, 88, Norwich
A firefighter during the late 1940s and early 1950s, Pauline Spelman, nee Spooner, died on January 31 this year.
Her daughter, Jasmine Toombs, said: “Mum was incredibly proud of her time as a firewoman at Bethel Street and Whitegates fire stations.”
Cherie Steptoe, 71, and James Johnson, 81, Dereham
Cherie Steptoe spent all of her working life in the health and social care sector, devoting her time to caring for others. She died on April 27, 2020.
Her daughter, Anna Cooper, paid tribute to her. She said: “My mother passed away nine days after her husband.
“My mum was a hard-working, caring, and loving lady. She loved her job and was passionate about the people she cared for and their rights.
“Mum doted on all her grandchildren. She was so loving, patient, and had a great sense of humour with them all.
“My mum was my world. Her loss has devastated the whole family. She was very much loved by myself and my brother, along with everyone she met. A true lady, who is missed very dearly.”
Ms Cooper also paid tribute to her step-father, James Johnson, a bus driver for Eastern Counties for many years, who died on April 18, 2020.
She added: “James, aka Jim, spent many years as a bus driver around the county. He enjoyed cooking, holidays abroad, and loved spending time with his grandchildren. He had a love of reading, gardening, and watching the television. He was loved by all of the family, and will be missed.”
Ben Horsley, 83, Freethorpe, near Great Yarmouth
Tributes have been paid to a “wonderful” granddad who was known as “Mr Freethorpe” in his local community. Ben Horsley died on January 1 this year.
His granddaughter, Siobhan Livingstone, paid tribute to him, describing his as “the best granddad anyone could ask for”.
She added: “We used to watch numerous episodes of Last of the Summer Wine and Only Fools and Horses together. He loved his football and cricket, and for many years he was chairman of Freethorpe football club.
“Many would say he was “Mr Freethorpe”. He loved the village and had many happy memories there. To many, he was known as always willing to do anything for anyone and help where he could. Such a wonderful man with the best dry sense of humour. In his own words, we have lost the best looking one of the family.”
Kyanna Sutton, 28, Norwich
The mother of a popular Norwich choir soloist has paid tribute to her “considerate and caring” daughter. Kyanna Sutton died on January 18 this year.
Kirstie Sutton said her daughter “always put others before herself”.
She added: “She absolutely loved her role as customer relations manager at the Post Office we both worked in, and was the soloist for Norwich Community Choir - something else she excelled in.
"Kyanna loved nothing more than spending time with her family and friends and absolutely loved her cat, Puddin, who she adopted at the beginning of the first lockdown.”
Roy Coverdale, 97, Norwich
Second World War veteran, Roy Coverdale, died on January 9 this year.
Father to Andrew and Lindsey, grandfather to Kayleigh and Jenn, and married to wife Betty, he has been described as “a hero”.
His granddaughter, Jenn Coverdale, paid tribute to him. She said: “He was a RAF spitfire pilot during the Second World War.
“He used to give me penknives instead of crayons as a child, he stood by my side as I experienced my first blood blister, and taught me how to make fire using the sun’s reflection and a magnifying glass.
"He was the man who I believed lost all his hair when he flew his spitfire upside down, he was the man that drank a whole bottle of gin resulting in the care home having to phone us, and he was the man I called my granddad, my hero. I will forever love and thank him for giving me a fun-filled childhood and great memories.”
Lily Roythorne, 93, King’s Lynn
Born and raised in Hunstanton, Lily Roythorne spent many years working for the family business. She died on March 29, 2020.
Her granddaughter, Claire Ling, said she is missed by all of her family.
She added: “Lily achieved so much in her 93 years and all her family have many fond memories to cherish.
“She lived in Hunstanton with her husband, George, and three children, Jacqueline, David, and Julie, until the 1980s. She worked for many years for the family's coach business, Birds Coaches, in the town. Then when retirement was approaching, Lily and George moved to Snettisham.
“Lily had five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She loved a family celebration and we had a lovely party for her 90th birthday.”
David Hendrie, 74, King’s Lynn
An avid Norwich City fan, David Hendrie spent more than 50 years working as a painter and decorator, including on the Sandringham Estate. He died on April 4, 2020.
Paying tribute to her father, Samantha Hendrie described him as her “hero”.
She said: “Dad loved his football, and it was always on the television. Before he had my brother and I, he had been a season ticket holder at Carrow Road. He was also a keen speedway fan. Having grown up in Norwich, he saw the stars at the Firs before getting me into speedway and taking me to King’s Lynn to watch the stars.
“We lost my mother when she was 37. He had to bring up a seven-year-old and a five-year-old single handily. We miss him dearly.
“My dad was my hero.”
Ian Lewis, 71, Hellesdon, Norwich
The business partner of a much-loved hairdresser and former body builder, who died on January 14 this year, has said he will “never be forgotten”.
Bev Lewis, of Cut Loose Hair Designs, paid tribute to Ian Lewis.
She said: “He was a hairdresser in Hellesdon for over 30 years, a big character, and everyone knew him as he was so friendly. Always a smile and joke for everyone. Also, an ex-Lads Club boxer in the 60s and 70s, Eastern Counties Champion Light Welterweight. He leaves behind his girlfriend Joan, four children and nine grandchildren. Will be missed so much but never forgotten.”
Margot Willmott, 92, Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft
Margot Willmott, who was born in Berlin, Germany, died on January 7. She had been described as “the heart of the family”.
Her granddaughter, Sarah Mannion, paid tribute to her grandmother. She said: “She had a great sense of humour and a love of children and animals. She was the heart of the family and was always happy to see you. She had six grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.”
James Morris, 31, Strumpshaw, Norwich
Kelli-Marie Morris, paid tribute to her brother James Morris, who died on December 28, 2020.
She said: “He was a son, brother, and uncle. Gamers don't die, they Respawn.”
Brian “Buster” Simmons, 79, Gorleston
A nature lover who sailed the world several times has been described as a man who “loved his family above everything”.
Brian “Buster” Simmons, loving husband to Anita and father of three, leaves them behind along with seven grandchildren.
His daughter, Debra Simmons, paid tribute to him. She said: “He loved his garden, wildlife, music, Norwich City Football Club, and watching old westerns and classic comedies.
“He sailed the world several times with the Navy in his younger years. He learnt the trade of painting and decorating, which was his main job throughout his working life.
“He loved his family above everything and will be missed more than words can say.”
He died on January 16 this year.
Terry Elvin, 74, Norwich
A family has paid tribute to their “gentle and friendly” father and grandfather.
Terry Elvin, a keen woodworker, died on January 26 this year.
His daughter, Sally Elvin, described him as an “amazing” man who was devoted to his family that he “adored”.
She added: “He was passionate about Norwich City Football Club. He attended football matches as a season ticket holder.
“He was a gentle and friendly man liked and loved by many. A doting Grampy, and an amazing father. He devoted himself to his late wife Jenny, and visited her almost every day in her later years of illness. A wonderful human being, I could not be prouder to be his daughter.”
Thelma Jean Soer, 84, Sprowston, Norwich
The son of a well-known Norwich resident has paid tribute to his mother, Thelma Jean Soer.
Paul Soer, who also lost his father in December 2019, said: “She helped her parents to run Quebec Pub between 1956 and 1965, as a barmaid. She also worked at Sainsbury's in Anglia Square, then many years at Rowntree Mackintosh. She went into care with vascular dementia for four years.
“The hardest thing is losing them both in a short time. I was unable to say goodbye to mum because of lockdown, and I couldn't visit the care home or hospital. I really miss both, and so will the rest of the family.”
Brian “Brue” Webb, 79, North Elmham, near Dereham
The family of a much-loved family man, Brian “Brue” Webb, who died on January 14 this year, has paid tribute to him.
His niece, Jane Potter, said he would be missed by everyone.
“He was a wonderful husband to June, loving dad to Kevin and Shaun, father-in-law to Kim, and devoted granddad to Tia. He will be missed so much.
“He loved watching football and was a keen football player in his early years. He had a heart of gold and will be missed by his sisters-in-law and brother-in-law. He was a brilliant uncle to all his nieces and nephews.”
Josephine "Josie" Page, 74, Lowestoft
A great-grandmother who was “there to care for everyone” has been described as the “brightest star” by her family.
Josephine “Josie” Page died on April 11, 2020.
Mrs Page was born in Lowestoft and was married to her husband, John, for 52 years. She also leaves behind her two children, Katherine and John Boy, as well as seven grandchildren and one great great-granddaughter.
She worked in a pet shop, Pye Television, a food factory, Early Dawn garden centre, in Lowestoft, and as an assistant cook at a care home. She was a blood donor and a member of Kessingland Women’s Institute.
Her daughter, Ms Sibbons, said: “She enjoyed being outdoors, caring for her pets, and holidays with her family.
“She was loved by all her family, friends, and neighbours. Josie was always there to care for everyone. It breaks our hearts that we were not able to hold her hand when she needed us. Josie, you are our brightest star.”
Colin Fysh, 70, King’s Lynn
The wife of a “wise and gentle man of many, many skills" has paid tribute to her husband who died last year.
Jill Fysh described her husband, Colin, as a practical man with “the soul of a poet”. He died on May 1, 2020.
She added: “Remembering Colin with the deepest love as a husband, father, and grandfather. He lived for his family and was happiest when he had everyone around the table. His smoked salmon was legendary, as were his barbecues.
“He was a King's Lynn man and was proud of his heritage. He worked for many years at Cooper Roller Bearings before moving to the Borough Council. He was a cub leader and a passionate believer in the values of scouting. He loved genealogy and helped many find missing pieces in their family history.
“His ready wit and easy banter was appreciated by all. He was wise and gentle, but never afraid to speak his mind. He loved good football and watched every game without supporting any one team; he was always ahead of any commentary. He is so very missed by us all.”
June Baldry, 72, Taverham
Tributes have been paid to “the most caring and loving” mother, after she died last month, on February 17.
Paul Baldry, son of June Baldry, described his mother as a “fantastic cook” who enjoyed catching up with her family and friends.
He added: “She loved her family and would do anything she could to help others. She was always there for a chat and a laugh, whether that was at home or out and about shopping. People just seemed to be drawn to her.
“She was passionate about nature and the outdoors and thoroughly enjoyed visits to Sheringham and Cromer whenever it was possible. Being such a fantastic cook, her Sunday roasts and cakes were amazing.
“Losing her to Covid so suddenly has left a great void in our lives.
“I will never forget you, mum. Thank you for all that you have done for me and our family over the years. You loved us all so much. You may have been my mum, but you were also my best friend. I will always love you. Be at peace.”
Mrs Baldry leaves behind her husband of 52 years, four sons, two daughters-in-law, and six grandchildren.
Roger Allen, 74, Wymondham
The son of a “proud” family man who “enjoyed a challenge” has paid tribute to his father, Roger Allen.
Mr Allen was born and raised in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, a town which “had a special place in his heart” and one he continued to visit regularly after he moved to Norfolk in 1988 following the relocation of his job.
His son, Neil Allen, said: "He was an intelligent man who liked a challenge. Whilst he had many a story about the trouble he got into at school, that didn’t stop him achieving both athletically and academically.”
Mr Allen gained an apprenticeship as a draughtsman which led to a long and successful career designing and selling gearboxes - a job he loved.
His son added: “There were always lots of stories about his childhood and often they involved animals. Specifically, a pet hamster that, as a kid, he would pop in his pocket then jump on his bike and head to the shops. His love for animals continued to grow and as an adult and he was rarely without a dog by his side, rehoming his most recent dog, Poppy, from Dogs Trust in Snetterton.”
Mr Allen met his wife in 1962 and they married in 1968. They celebrated their surprise golden wedding anniversary in September 2018, where Mr Allen enjoyed seeing his family who visited from across the country.
“He was a proud man and a proud father. When I passed out of basic training at Royal Air Force Halton in 1997 the parade concluded to Imperial Echoes, a tune dad was more used to hearing at speedway meets supporting his much-loved Oxford Cheetahs. To this day, I am positive that I saw him wiping a tear from his eye as he saw me passing out to this march. He was also incredibly proud of my sister’s academic achievements, in particular when she graduated from university, then her progression in her career as a teacher.”
In 2015, he welcomed his first grandchild, a granddaughter. Two years later, he welcomed a grandson.
“He was over the moon to be a granddad and would dote on them at any given opportunity, giving them anything they would ever ask for.
“Dad was a man of many hobbies and interests, particularly anything that gave him the opportunity to partake in some banter. As such he spent many years playing in pub sports leagues, both in darts and cribbage. In amongst the banter and joking he turned out to be pretty good at both, and that can be seen in the many trophies that are still proudly displayed in the family home. He was a keen spectator of a number of sports but had a particular love of football, where he was proud to support Chelsea Football Club for many years and we would often discuss the highs, the lows, and when we could attend matches together.
“After he retired, he took great pride in his garden and would spend many an hour out there tending to it. He even built his own bench seat to enjoy the fruits of his labour from. He also loved to holiday in the sun and often dreamt of moving to the Canary Islands, something that he unfortunately never managed to do. Roger was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather, and brother who will be sorely missed by his family and friends.”
Mr Allen died on January 22 this year.
Alan Hughes, 78, North Walsham
A father-of-three who once rescued a tourist who fell into the Norfolk Boards, had died aged 78.
Alan Huges, was born in Essex and moved to Norfolk when he was a teenager, where he became a skilled carpenter and boat builder.
His daughter, Jane Hughes, paid tribute to him. She said: “He loved the Norfolk Broads and during his younger days he worked for a period as a skipper on the broads, taking out tourists on boats. On one of those occasions, he rescued a tourist who could not swim and had fallen overboard, which was reported in the local paper.
“Throughout Alan's life, he loved nature and animals and drew a lot of pleasure from his garden. Alan, unfortunately, suffered from dementia in his later years, which deteriorated last year and led to him needing to go into a care home.”
Mr Huges contracted Covid-19 in January. He died in hospital on February 20, this year. He leaves behind three daughters and nine grandchildren.
Keith John Manship, 74, Norfolk
The wife of a retired police officer who died last year said she will always have "our memories".
Pamela Manship's husband died on March 18, 2020, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.
She said: "He was a much-loved husband, father, and grandfather. He was 74 years old, and a retired police officer. He loved sea fishing, playing bowls, and shooting.
"This past year has been hard with all the restrictions, but although he was taken very suddenly, he did not suffer too long. We have our memories."
- The Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News are inviting families and friends to remember their loved ones who have died during the Covid pandemic and will be taking submissions all week. To submit your own tribute, please follow the instructions included via this Google Form.