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'One of the sweetest people' - Tributes to former toy shop owner who never left her town

PUBLISHED: 18:14 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:56 15 February 2020

Thelma Bond, centre, and Cynthia Bond, right, with Mrs Harmer, the last customer at their toy shop in Dereham High Street before it closed in 2006.  Picture: Matthew Usher

Thelma Bond, centre, and Cynthia Bond, right, with Mrs Harmer, the last customer at their toy shop in Dereham High Street before it closed in 2006. Picture: Matthew Usher

Archant © 2006

She spent her whole life in her town, never leaving, devoted to her family and their iconic toy shop.

Thelma Bond, of Dereham, as a young woman. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and SonThelma Bond, of Dereham, as a young woman. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and Son

And now tributes have been paid to Thelma Bond, of Dereham, who has died aged 91.

Miss Bond will forever be linked to her beloved older sister, Cynthia, and A Bond Toy Shop in the town's High Street, which they ran together for decades after taking over the reins from their parents.

Rachel Michaelson, the family's solicitor, said Miss Bond was now reunited with her sister, who died in 2014. She said: "It's quite a blessing that she's now at peace and they're back together, because that's all she wanted."

Ms Michaelson said Miss Bond was an enthusiastic piano player, but she or her sister never married and their horizons did not stretch beyond their home town.

Thelma Bond, left, with her system Cynthia. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and SonThelma Bond, left, with her system Cynthia. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and Son

She said: "Thelma and her sister never left Dereham - they never went anywhere at all. After Thelma died, the coroner took her to Cromer Hospital, and that was the very first time she'd ever left Dereham - after she died. They never had any reason to go anywhere."

The sisters lived above the shop, and after it closed in 2006, they moved into an annexe at the back of the building.

People who knew Miss Bond and the old-fashioned nature of the toy shop have shared their thoughts on social media.

Chloe-Marie Smith, who was Miss Bond's carer for six months, said: "No words can explain what a kind-hearted lady she was.

An early photo of Thelma Bond, right, with her mother and father. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and SonAn early photo of Thelma Bond, right, with her mother and father. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and Son

"I got to enjoy and listen to some of her fondest memories about her family, she was absolutely one of the sweetest people.

"After I had my little boy I took him round to see her and she was over the moon. Thelma got out her baby outfits that her and her sister wore when they were babies."

Hazel Aldridge said: "When we moved up to Norfolk we used the shop and were amazed as they wrapped the parcels in brown paper and string."

Keith Graver said: "I bought games from their shop - Soccerama was one. One electric bulb is all the lighting I remember."

Thelma Bond, left, and Cynthia Bond, in 2006, who were able to move into an annexe at the back of their old toy shop after it closed. Picture: Matthew UsherThelma Bond, left, and Cynthia Bond, in 2006, who were able to move into an annexe at the back of their old toy shop after it closed. Picture: Matthew Usher

Marie Shorten said: "The lovely ladies were very helpful. I loved the shop because it was stuck in the Victorian era like a lot of the shops were then. Every time I walk past that shop now I think of the two ladies."

Miss Bond's funeral will take place on Monday, February 17 at 10am at Breckland Crematorium.

Thelma Bond, left, and Cynthia Bond, in 2006.  Picture: Matthew UsherThelma Bond, left, and Cynthia Bond, in 2006. Picture: Matthew Usher

Thelma Bond lived practically her entire life at this building in Dereham's High Street. She lived above the shop for many years when it was Bonds Toy Shop, first run by her parents and then by herself and her sister Cynthia. After the shop closed the sisters moved into an annex out the back, and the building later became the Dereham Times/EDP office, and is now a gaming store. Picture: Stuart AndersonThelma Bond lived practically her entire life at this building in Dereham's High Street. She lived above the shop for many years when it was Bonds Toy Shop, first run by her parents and then by herself and her sister Cynthia. After the shop closed the sisters moved into an annex out the back, and the building later became the Dereham Times/EDP office, and is now a gaming store. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The sign which hung above the door of A Bond Toy Shop in High Street, Dereham, for many years. The sign is still in the building, which is now the Level Up video game cafe. Picture: Stuart AndersonThe sign which hung above the door of A Bond Toy Shop in High Street, Dereham, for many years. The sign is still in the building, which is now the Level Up video game cafe. Picture: Stuart Anderson

A display of torches and batteries in the window of what became Bonds Toy Shop in High Street, Dereham. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and SonA display of torches and batteries in the window of what became Bonds Toy Shop in High Street, Dereham. Picture: Supplied by Spire/C Littleproud and Son

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