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Sign of some happy times

PUBLISHED: 11:07 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 07:23 01 August 2010

THIS week a plaque was installed on the new Beccles town sign in Northgate to commemorate the man who donated much of the money towards it.

Retired businessman Chris Bean, who was born and raised in Northgate, donated a substantial sum towards the sign which was installed last Thursday along with one at the top of London Road.

THIS week a plaque was installed on the new Beccles town sign in Northgate to commemorate the man who donated much of the money towards it.

Retired businessman Chris Bean, who was born and raised in Northgate, donated a substantial sum towards the sign which was installed last Thursday along with one at the top of London Road.

Both signs were made from the same mould as that in Ballygate, and now all of the entrances into Beccles have town signs.

Mr Bean, 73, said: “As a kid I always admired the sign on the Bungay road. I thought it was a lovely looking sign, and when I saw they were doing these other signs I thought what a great idea.

“I think this sort of thing keeps the history of Beccles alive.”

Mr Bean, whose grandfather was respected London insurer Edward George, was brought up in a poor household in Northgate with 10 brothers and sisters by his grandmother Clara Bean.

He was educated at Ravensmere School and Bungay Grammar School, before deciding to go into the RAF. However his plans to fly planes were scuppered when he was diagnosed with colour blindness, and Mr Bean decided to go into finance at Clowes Printers in Beccles.

He then worked for Erie Electronics in Great Yarmouth, before becoming Finance Director and then Chief Executive at Dubilier PLC in Oxford and buying companies in American cities such as New York and LA.

Mr Bean, who is now retired, returned to the area 10 years ago and now lives in Great Yarmouth.

The Bean family's presence in Northgate ended when Clara Bean died in the '70s, but the area of Beccles is still very close to Mr Bean's heart.

“Northgate is very important to me,” he said. “It is a street that lets your mind go back in time.

“When you're a kid all you want to do is get away from Beccles but then as you get older and you look at the Church and the area around Northgate you appreciate it.”

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