Final farewell to Legion stalwart

HE WAS known as the face of the Royal British Legion in one of Suffolk’s most-loved villages, and will be honoured for his lifetime of work today.

Richard Garrard will be remembered for his sterling work in building up the Lavenham branch of the Legion, where he was the current president as well as a former club secretary.

The 87-year-old passed away on March 23 following a battle with the after effects of a stroke. His funeral will take place in Lavenham today with a big turnout expected.

Last night one of his closest friends, Neil Kirkham, paid tribute to him, saying: “Mr Royal British Legion Lavenham attended every national conference for Lavenham and E Group (Suffolk area). He built it (Lavenham branch) up and was there every single day of the week - he was one of my greatest buddies, especially over the 26 years we served together in the county.”

Mr Garrard was also a former county chairman as well as county sports officer.

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Nicki Garrad, his daughter-in-law, said: “He was a big character in Lavenham and will be remembered by everyone.

“He was so helpful, he was the kind of person who would help everybody.”

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The former builder, of T & B Garrard Builders, physical helped the club grow, putting in an extension, and also helped preserve some of the medieval village’s historic properties for tourists to enjoy.

The grandfather of three, who had a son Paul with his wife Nora - who passed away 18-months-ago, saw action during the Second World War in North Africa, the Middle East and Italy with the Tank Core.

Nicki Garrard added the avid Ipswich Town fan left a lasting legacy to the village through his work with the Legion, now an integral cornerstone of the community in Lavenham.

A public service at Lavenham church will be followed by a family-only service at West Suffolk Crematorium before a congregation at The Royal British Legion club.

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