‘One of the sweetest people’ - Tributes to former toy shop owner who never left her town
- Credit: Matthew Usher
She spent her whole life in her town, never leaving, devoted to her family and their iconic toy shop.
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.
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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.
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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.
"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."
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.