Buttercross, July 3, 2015: Remembering Swaffham’s community stars

The Buttercross in Swaffham. ENGANL00120140402160040
The Buttercross in Swaffham. ENGANL00120140402160040
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The word “community” constantly figures large in these articles and no apology is made for that.

In any village, town or city, the involvement of its people in day-to-day affairs is necessary for a truly vibrant, communal atmosphere.

We have the reputation of being a retirement area and appear to struggle to bring together sufficient numbers to really have such a community that truly represents adequately the size of town we are and would wish to be.

Added to this, we appear to be losing valued people that have made our town a really good place to live.

Two have recently died, much to the sorrow of many. Dr. Mike Pilkington was a local GP for many years, and was mine for some of them.

He was an absolute gentleman, always courteous, friendly and approachable, a joy to be around and to know.

I wouldn’t have said that he was particularly a “trier of new things” but I do remember he was one of the first people locally to purchase an Austin Allegro, a car reported to be ahead of its time with its much hyped “gas based” suspension.

But it was a bit of a disaster for the doctor who was let down badly on his rounds when the suspension collapsed, leaving him stranded far from home on a busy day.

The second recent loss is of Dorothy Hardiman. Dorothy and her husband Gordon lived and worked for many years in Station Street, running the tobacconist’s and sweet shop.

In later years, and in retirement, Dorothy involved herself in all sorts of town activities including notably and for many years, the hospital’s League of Friends. Always bright, always smiling and always busy doing something worthwhile. People like these are hard to replace.

Another loss, heartfelt by many, is the retirement of our Methodist minister, the Rev Daphne Lloyd.

A remarkable lady, she has seen the chapel through some difficult times, the biggest being the structural problems that have beset the building over recent years.

There is much more work yet to be done here, and further expensive work at that. A Pinnacle Appeal has been launched to bring in more much needed funds.

There is no doubt, however, that the outstanding problems will be overcome, with leadership like the church has just had. I am sure we all wish Rev Lloyd a long and happy retirement.