One of Lynn’s best known characters, George Chappell, has died. He was 71.
Community leaders and colleagues have paid warm tribute to Mr Chappell, a long-time community warden and steward at major town events, who died on Wednesday.
Borough mayor Barry Ayres said: “George was a stalwart in the community and volunteered to work with the Council Emergency Wardens at all of the outdoor civic events.
“I know that past mayors of this borough would agree that George will be very much missed by all who knew him and, on their behalf, my condolences go to his family.”
Mr Chappell served as an emergency warden for more than 25 years and was a familiar face helping visitors to events like the Mart, Festival Too, the Grand East Anglia Run and the Tour of Britain.
His services, and those of other community wardens, were also called upon during searches for missing people, rescue operations and to help notify residents at risk during flood warnings.
District emergency planning officer Kevin Kent said: “He always had his mind on resilience issues and would regularly update the emergency planning team if there were power outages or problems with water supplies in the town – often before we were aware.
“He was always first to volunteer if there was a problem and at the forefront of keeping people safe.”
Ben Colson, former owner of the Norfolk Green bus company, said that, as well as his community work, Mr Chappell was also a tireless campaigner on local issues.
He said: “George was one of life’s colourful characters who did an enormous amount for the town.”
A keen follower of horse racing, Mr Chappell was a familiar figure at the Saddlebow Road stadium, where he helped at the turnstiles, during the early years of King’s Lynn Speedway in the 1960s.
In recent years, he was also a regular volunteer for the SOS Safe Haven project. for whom he had acted as an outreach support worker since its launch in 2008.
Project manager Carla King said her colleague would be missed by people from all sections of the community.
She said: “He would go out, offer first aid and talk to people. A lot of people in the town knew him and would stop and chat. He’s a great loss.”
Tributes were also paid to Mr Chappell via social media.
KL.FM presenter Simon Rowe described him as “a King’s Lynn legend”, adding: “Everyone knew him, so friendly and always involved in everything.”
Borough councillor Stephanie Smeaton tweeted: “George was an inspiration. Always ready to lend a helping hand. I loved talking to him about old Lynn.”