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Tributes paid to former council chairman who died aged 96

PUBLISHED: 13:37 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:50 10 August 2018

Eric Barrett, the last chairman of Mitford and Launditch Council and former church warden in Guist, has died aged 96. Picture: Supplied by George Pledger.

Eric Barrett, the last chairman of Mitford and Launditch Council and former church warden in Guist, has died aged 96. Picture: Supplied by George Pledger.

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Tributes have been paid to a former council chairman and church warden after he died aged 96.

Eric Barrett, the last chairman of Mitford and Launditch Council and former church warden in Guist, has died aged 96. Picture: Supplied by George Pledger.Eric Barrett, the last chairman of Mitford and Launditch Council and former church warden in Guist, has died aged 96. Picture: Supplied by George Pledger.

Eric Walter Barrett, of Guist, began his working life as a farmer and haulier in the 1940s.

During the Second World War he was part of the home guard and, despite applying to join those fighting abroad, was kept at home due to farming being a vital industry.

Mr Barrett was also known for being the last chairman of Mitford and Launditch Council, which was superseded by Breckland Council in 1974 .

His daughter, Erica Pledger, said: “He was a very good father. He was a very solid character until his last few years but we will remember him as he was.

“He had deteriorated quite a lot in the last few years and when he saw those little girls [his great-grandchildren] he would light up.”

Originally born in Whissonsett, Mr Barrett moved to Guist and lived there for more than 90 years. He served as warden at St Andrews Church in Guist from 1958 until 2012 but had to stop when he could no longer drive his car.

A keen caravanner, he entered rally competitions and won on three separate occasions in 1958, 1959 and 1966.

Ms Pledger added: “He also presented a ladies caravan award called the Barrett Cup, which I won myself. It was really nice to have won that award.

“He was a great supporter of the church. He ran many a church fete in his years and didn’t give up until he was 90.”

Mr Barrett ran his farming and haulage businesses alongside each other, buying his first lorry in 1940 before he started farming in 1944.

He sold the lorries in 1988 but did not stop farming until ten years later. He was a long-serving member of the National Farmers Union and Road Haulage Association.

Mr Barrett died at his home on July 20.

A father-of-two daughters, he leaves behind his daughter Ms Pledger, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at St Andrew’s Church, Guist, on Monday August 13 at 2pm.

Family flowers only, but donations for either East Anglian Air Ambulance or St Andrew’s Church may be given at the service or sent to Fakenham and District Funeral Services Ltd., Weasenham, PE32 2TF.

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