‘Thank you, my dear boy’: Tributes paid to Stowmarket local celebrity Ivan Harold Codd

"Thank you, my dear boy": Ivan and wife Mim outside their cycle shop. Picture: STEVE WILLIAMS

"Thank you, my dear boy": Ivan and wife Mim outside their cycle shop. Picture: STEVE WILLIAMS - Credit: Archant

The people of Stowmarket have paid tribute to one of the town’s friendliest faces.

Ivan Harold Codd, who owned a popular bike shop as well as creating an invaluable archive of Stowmarket’s history, sadly passed away aged 97 on Wednesday, March 28.

His son and only child, Vivian Codd, said his father was an extraordinary man – and kind to all who knew him.

“He was something of a local celebrity,” Mr Codd said.

“He was popular because his was one of the last traditional bicycle shops in the town.”

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Born and raised in his beloved Stowmarket, Ivan Codd would have taken over the family business – Codd’s Cycle Shop – in the 30s, had he not been drafted into the RAF during the second world war.

It was then that he met his wife-to-be, Mim, and the pair ran the shop together from 1955 until 1983.

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Mr Codd said Ivan would be remembered for his kind and generous manner.

“He didn’t charge enough,” he said. “He was well known for doing quick jobs – almost fixing bikes on the pavement. His life was spent serving people. I don’t think the business came into it much. I think that for a lot of people it was a talking shop as well as a bike shop.”

Ivan was always looking for ways to lift people’s spirits.

“He was Father Christmas at Christmas time,” Mr Codd added. “My mother delivered 40 odd bikes every year.”

Ivan was also an avid archivist, dedicating many years to collecting photographs, postcards and ephemera relating to the town. It is thanks to his collections that many local interest groups have a clear picture of Stowmarket’s history,

“He had always been interested in Stowmarket,” Mr Codd said. “He knew every change that had taken place.”

Having witnessed how the town had transformed from the war years to the latter part of the 20th century, Ivan was desperate to record Stowmarket’s heritage.

Mr Codd added: “He saw the change coming. He photographed just about all the buildings that would have been demolished.

“Before he retired he still had quite a large collection of black and white photographs.”

Steve Williams, an archivist at the Stowmarket Local History Group, said Ivan’s contributions really were invaluable.

He said: “My own personal recollection was when my wife Sue and I had started a project in conjunction with the Suffolk Family History Society, to get as much information about all the disappearing family-run businesses in Stowmarket. This all started in 1996 and the first person who we knew to contact was Ivan Codd.

“We were complete novices so it was all a new venture for us and a little bit daunting, however, we knew enough to be assured that if Ivan was ‘on-board’ for our project we would almost certainly be alright.

“He was an old hand at this and quickly put us at our ease. He was always so enthusiastic to hear how far we had got.

“By 1998 the book entitled ‘Serving You Through the Years’ was completed, a book launch was organised by the Family History Society at Haughley Park Barn, and Ivan with his wife Mim were the first to return the acceptance for their invitation card.

“This ended up a two-way friendship because we would often unearth personal family photos of people and places in the town that Ivan had seen or got in his collection which he quickly rectified at every opportunity.

“He was always the same. Gentlemanly, nothing was too much trouble, he had got his often repeated mannerisms and sayings. Several people are already suggesting he deserves to have a road named after him. That gives you an idea of the esteem and heartfelt warmth that he generated with the people who had the privilege to have known him.”

Perhaps Ivan’s most endearing trait of all was his famous catchphrase, which is now echoed fondly by all who knew him: “Thank you, my dear boy.”

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