Tributes paid to village stalwart

TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a man who devoted much of his life to helping his village.

David Green

TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a man who devoted much of his life to helping his village.

Bert Lockwood was born at Wilby, near Eye, nearly 96 years ago and was a member of the church choir for more than 80 years.

He served his community as a member of the parish council, parochial church council and village hall committee.

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Mr Lockwood, who leaves a daughter, Mary, and grandchild, Sheila, followed his father's footsteps into the building trade after leaving the village school. He was called up into the army in 1942, serving throughout the Middle East.

He helped build the village hall in the early 1950s and became a member and chairman of the village hall committee. He was also chairman of the parish council for some years.

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A quarter peal was rung by the Wilby bell-ringers earlier this week to mark Mr Lockwood's death at the age of 95 - three weeks before his 96th birthday. He had served as verger and lay elder at the church and, even in his declining years, was a regular member of the congregation.

His daughter said yesterday: “He was brilliant as a father - always very loving and supportive to myself, Sheila and his many close friends. He was very much a people person, and he would talk and make time for everyone. We will all miss him greatly.”

Local vicar, Rev Fiona Newton, said: “Bert was such a special man. He loved people, he loved hymn singing and he loved trying out new forms of worship.

“He had a very remarkable open-mindedness to the world around him, and a wisdom that came both from his long experience of life, and a profound faith that was based on daily prayer and Bible reading.

“He used to stand outside church each Sunday and be the first to welcome them. And he had the knack of remembering something that was important to them. It's no surprise that he was so well loved.”

Mr Lockwood's funeral is due to take place in Wilby Church on Tuesday at 11 am.

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