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.
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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.