Tributes to former mayor
Tributes have been paid to former Dereham mayor, ex-boxing champion and well known community figure Chris Thorne, who has died aged 51.Mr Thorne spent most of his life in Dereham and during his four years as a Labour town councillor, from 1995-99, he chaired the recreation committee and oversaw the start of the re-development of the Recreation Ground and creation of the small children's play area.
Tributes have been paid to former Dereham mayor, ex-boxing champion and well known community figure Chris Thorne, who has died aged 51.
Mr Thorne spent most of his life in Dereham and during his four years as a Labour town councillor, from 1995-99, he chaired the recreation committee and oversaw the start of the re-development of the Recreation Ground and creation of the small children's play area.
He was enormously proud of his year as civic leader in 1998/9 and the chance to represent the town he loved so much and make a difference for people of all ages.
Mr Thorne was a Royal Navy serviceman and postman and his first political experience was gained as a delegate for the Communication Workers Union and he addressed an annual conference in Bournemouth.
For several years he and his wife Jackie hosted monthly meetings of the union's Dereham and District branch at the Splitz club they ran in Quebec Street. Mr Thorne was a keen sportsman and was Eastern Counties amateur light heavyweight boxing champion before he turned professional. He later became a coach at Dereham Boxing Club.
He was part of a well known family of boxers - as his brothers Lee and Michael also fought - and one of the highlights for him was taking part on the bill of a European title fight at Carrow Road.
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Mr Thorne played football for teams locally and then became coach at Mattishall and also coached local boys teams.
He was also a serving member of the Leslie Potter Memorial Trust.
Robin Goreham, who served with Mr Thorne on the town council, said: “I witnessed how passionate Chris was. He wanted to make improvements to Dereham life, and to strive for a better world, generally. It was his vision - virtually single handed - which brought about the complete re-development of the town's Recreation Ground, something for which he can be justly proud.”
As well as his wife, Mr Thorne leaves a son Robbie, daughter Vicki, four grand-children Luke, Bethany, Maisie and Elspeth, brothers Lee and Michael and a sister Tracey.
Robbie said: “He was very proud of being mayor and starting the Rec project and he really loved Dereham and wanted the best for it.” Lee said: “He was dedicated to his whole family and his close friends. He also had a lot of respect for the youth of Dereham.”
Mr Thorne's close friend Paul Sandford said: “Chris was a top man and the best mate I will ever have. He was such a good family man.”
The funeral service is on Tuesday, May 13, at St Nicholas Church, Dereham, 11.45am, followed by a private committal service. At 2.15pm there is a get together in Mr Thorne's memory at Aldiss Park. Everyone welcome.