December 19 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
A close knit community is coming to terms with the sudden death of a popular husband and wife killed in a car crash while on holiday in the USA.
Glowing tributes were last night paid to Paddy and Julyan Heazell, who lived in Snape and also had strong ties to nearby Aldeburgh.
The couple died on Sunday afternoon when, according to local reports, their rental van left the road and struck a tree after they had been hiking in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley.
Mr Heazell, 77, and his 74-year-old wife were popular figures in their community - volunteering for Aldeburgh Music and passionate supporters of both RSPB Minsmere and Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT).
The couple were travelling with Mr Heazell’s 62-year-old brother Gareth, who is believed to have been driving the van, and his wife, Pamela, also 62. They are understood to be recovering in hospital from injuries not thought to be life-threatening.
Mr and Mrs Heazell’s three grown children were too upset to pay tribute yesterday, but releasing a message through Reverend Canon Nigel Hartley, vicar of Aldeburgh Church, where the couple married 51 years ago and still played a very active role, they said the words of a close family friend summed up their thoughts.
“Paddy and Julyan were two of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met and the gap this leaves in the lives of so many will be enormous,” she said.
Mr and Mrs Heazell, who also had one grandchild, were still very active within Aldeburgh Church, regularly attending services and singing in the choir.
They were also members of Aldeburgh Music Club, of which Mr Heazell was treasurer and concert manager for many years until recently.
Canon Hartley, who had known the couple for the last nine years, said: “Paddy and Julyan have been very faithful members of our congregation.
“Paddy carried the cross for us almost every Sunday in recent years. I have learnt a great deal from him in terms of singing. He was a very talented bass singer.
“They were involved in so many different aspects of the town and will be greatly missed. They were prominent members of so many areas of church life and much loved by all who knew them.
“They will be very sadly missed by so many people in the congregation because they touched so many lives. Their contributions to the town and church are something that will be remembered for many years.”
Mrs Heazell’s parents, Arthur and Muffet Harrison, were personal friends of composer Benjamin Britten, with Muffet heavily involved in the early years of the Aldeburgh Festival.
It was here that Mrs Heazell met her husband to be and the couple carried on the tradition, helping out whenever they could.
Harry Young, general manager at Aldeburgh Music, said: “I last saw Paddy 10 days ago. He was giving his time by invigilating an exhibition of printmaking in our gallery – a role normally carried out by new volunteers wishing to become concert hall ushers.
“That Paddy should be doing this after decades of managing the front of house was entirely typical of such a generous man.
“He had an almost elder statesman-like role within the 150-strong body of ushers. He would always make a speech at the annual eve-of-festival dinner, where he would entertain and rally the volunteers.
“We will miss them both hugely – kind, giving, cultured people who played a significant role here and who provided a precious link to the earliest days of the Aldeburgh Festival.”
Mr Heazell was headmaster of London preparatory school The Hall from 1976 - 1991 and also served as president and chairman of the Independent Association of Prep Schools.
He was a keen local historian and last year featured in the EADT after penning the well received and popular The Hidden History of Orford Ness.
Mrs Heazell volunteered at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve and was also a leading member of SWT’s Alde and Blyth local group.
Adam Rowlands, senior site manager at Minsmere, said: “Julyan was a valued member of the volunteer team for a number of years, welcoming visitors to the site and providing them with information to enhance their visit.
“Her interest and passion for the natural world was an inspiration. She was well known locally and will be sadly missed.”
Julian Roughton, chief executive of SWT, said: “They were very active, community minded people. Julyan had been involved with the trust for nearly 25 years. She was a very warm and enthusiastic person who was just a pleasure to have as a supporter. She was very much involved in her local group and was passionate about helping the trust - both in terms of raising funds and increasing its profile.”