Final farewell to Swaffham museum founder Bill

Swaffham Museum's  Bill Sayer,
Swaffham Museum's Bill Sayer,
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Tributes have been paid to a leading light behind the establishment of the Swaffham Museum.

A funeral service for Bill Sayer, who lived in the town for more than 60 years, was held at the St Peter and St Paul Church on Monday. He died in hospital on Boxing Day, aged 90.

Originally from London, Mr Sayer served with the Royal Signals Regiment during World War Two and took part in the D-Day landings on the Normandy coast 70 years ago.

He moved to Swaffham in the early 1950s, where he later worked as an accountant for Essex Group Industries and Redland Tiles.

However, he is perhaps best known as the first manager of the Swaffham Museum, which opened in 1987.

He spent many years working towards opening the attraction and also spent periods as its secretary, treasurer and curator.

Marion Hancock, the chairman of the town’s History Group, said Mr Sayer had been the driving force behind the creation of the museum.

She said: “He was there every single day and he really did almost work himself into the ground.”

Mr Sayer also served as treasurer of the town’s allotment association when it was re-formed in the 1980s and as president of the Horticultural Society in the 1990s. Together with his wife, Edith, he regularly judged gardening competitions in the area.

In later years, he became a regular visitor to the luncheon club held at the Oasis Centre in Cley Road.

The centre’s manager, Pastor Graham Chittock, said he had retained a keen interest in what was going on around the town.

He added: “He was a bit of a joker. He had a very dry sense of humour and he was always very appreciative of everything we did for him. He is missed by us all.”

Mr Sayer is survived by his three children, Val, Tony and Steve.