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Fitting farewell for a traditional farmer, artist and horseman

PUBLISHED: 16:52 15 December 2017

Funeral of Joe Godderidge.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Funeral of Joe Godderidge. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A celebrated artist, farmer and horseman with a passion for traditional Norfolk life has been given a poignant farewell – carried to his funeral by his treasured heavy horses.

Funeral of Joe Godderidge.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Funeral of Joe Godderidge. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Joe Godderidge, who died at the age of 86 at home on his farm in Stanfield, near Dereham, was synonymous with country life and remembered for his use of horse-powered farming methods, despite modern mechanisation.

In recognition of this nostalgic lifestyle his coffin was carried to St Margaret’s Church in Stanfield on a horse drawn cart, using his own heavy horses.

At the end of the service the family celebrated another important aspect of Mr Godderidge’s life by holding a special art exhibition.

Mr Godderidge was known as a farmer by day and an artist by night. His beautifully vivid artwork encapsulated farming traditions and was inspired by his heavy horses and the farming lifestyle.

Funeral of Joe Godderidge.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Funeral of Joe Godderidge. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

As a member of the Norwich School of Art he held exhibitions in the Assembly Rooms in Norwich and at Pensthorpe.

A number of his paintings were even purchased by Gordon Frazer and Medici to be used on their greetings cards.

His niece Naomi Snowdon spoke on behalf of his family, saying: “Many people have contacted us not only with messages of condolence, but also to say how much of an influence Joe has been on their lives. These messages have been quite overwhelming in their love and appreciation of Joe.

“We feel that it is important, even at this very sad time, to celebrate Joe’s life. He was greatly loved by us all and will be always very fondly remembered.”

Funeral of Joe Godderidge.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY Funeral of Joe Godderidge. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mr Godderidge was born the son of a cowboy in Calgary, Canada, in 1931, and would watch his father ride in the rodeos, wanting to have a go himself. But the family left Canada when he was five and started farming in Sussex.

At the age of 11 and at grammar school his love of painting began. Being dyslexic he struggled with the academic work but his art teacher saw his talent, encouraged him and gave him confidence. His grandmother was also a celebrated artist.

When he left school he settled down in Norfolk and lived a humble life on his farm surrounded by art and animals.

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