‘We’ll miss him not walking his dog’: Tributes to former postman who died in house fire

Clive Connolly died in the house fire in Yoxford on December 15 Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Clive Connolly died in the house fire in Yoxford on December 15 Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to a community stalwart and former postman who died in a devastating fire, with residents describing his death as a “great loss”.

Neighbours had attempted to save ex-parish councillor Clive Connolly from the blaze at his two-storey semi-detached house in Grove Side, off Yoxford High Street, by shouting to try and grab his attention and then breaking in to try and rescue him.

But a neighbour who crawled inside on his hands and knees had to retreat due to the severity of the thick black smoke engulfing the property, with the fire service unable to save Mr Connolly’s life.

Since the fire at around 5.20am on Saturday, December 15 there has been an outpouring of tributes across the village, where grandfather Mr Connolly was regularly seen walking his dog and saying hello to fellow walkers.

Yoxford Parish Council chairman Russell Pearce, who served on the authority with Mr Connolly for several years, said: “There is great sadness at such a great loss.

“He was raised in the village, lived in the village all his life and was a parish councillor for many years. He was also a postman round here for many years. He was very much a community man.

“He was always very interested in the village and what was going on. He was one of the people you would always see out and about with his dog. It is a great shame he has gone. Everyone has been talking about him. It is tragic.”

Mr Pearce added that there had been a “very sombre mood” in the village after the fire and called it a “great tragedy”.

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County councillor Richard Smith, whose division covers Yoxford, said: “He was a man who was very community-minded and that makes what has happened even more sad.”

Thalia Barker, co-owner at G&T’s Cafe and Kitchen in Yoxford High Street, said: “He kept himself to himself.

“People in the village will be very sympathetic. Our heart goes out to him and his family.”

Former Yoxford parish councillor Nigel Kerridge, 68, of Little Street, said: “We’ll miss him not walking his dog. He was very quiet but he was an ex-parish councillor who did his service for the village.”

A funeral service is due to take place at Yoxford Parish Church on Thursday, January 3 at 11am, followed by a burial in Yoxford Cemetery.

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