'A big part of Bungay life': Popular Akela remembered

Jean Woodcock on her retirement as Bungay Cub scout leader

Jean Woodcock on her retirement as Bungay Cub scout leader - Credit: Family Photo

A much-loved grandmother who helped generations of Bungay youngsters has been remembered after her death.

Diana Jean Woodgate, known as Jean, passed away on Saturday, October 16.

The 93-year-old was well known throughout Bungay for her community efforts over the years.

Jean Woodcock with her great-grandson in 2019.

Jean Woodcock with her great-grandson in 2019. - Credit: Family photo

The grandmother-of-four was the Akela for Bungay cubs for around 20 years, as well as being assistant district commissioner for Waveney Valley Scouts and a county trainer for Suffolk Scouts.

Originally born in Alconbury near Huntingdon, she moved to Bungay in 1962 with her husband Paul, who she married in the 1940s.

Mr Woodcock, who died in 2003, was Bungay Town Reeve for a year in the mid-1980s, as well as being chairman of Bungay Town Trust's almshouses committee for 17 years.

Former Bungay Town Reeve Paul Woodcock and wife Jean.

Former Bungay Town Reeve Paul Woodcock and wife Jean. - Credit: Family Photo

He was previously manager at the then-wine merchants Peter Dominics in Broad Street, as well as being district commissioner for the local scout district for 10 years and a governor of Bungay Middle School.

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Mrs Woodcock was also president of the Bungay Inner Wheel the same year as her husband took the same title at the Bungay Rotary Club in 1990-91.

A family spokesperson said: "They lived in the flat above his shop for nearly 30 years until Paul retired and they moved to Halesworth.

"She joined the cubs in 65 and was there for 20 years, earning her the Silver Acorn award for her distinguished service.

"She was really honoured by that and it meant quite a lot to her.

"She still had men in their 60s coming up to her in the street calling her 'Akela' and that really touched her.

"Paul's roles were a great honour for both of them and she supported him at all of the official functions, including meeting the Queen on a visit to Lowestoft, which she was very chuffed about.

"They were just those sort of people. There was something to be done and they would put themselves forward to do it.

"They were both a big part of Bungay life through the 1960s, 70s and 80s." 

Jean Woodcock at the Bungay Almshouses

Jean Woodcock at the Bungay Almshouses - Credit: Family Photo

A funeral service will be held at Waveney Memorial Park and Crematorium in Ellough, Beccles, on Monday, November 8 at 3pm.

Family flowers only with donations, if desired, to the RNIB via Arthur Jary and Sons in Oulton Broad, or through her tribute page at www.arthurjary.co.uk.

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