The man who came up with the idea for forming a global network of communities with Norfolk and Norwich connections has died aged 85.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Derek Bickford-Smith founded the Norfolk and Norwich World Family, which forged links with an estimated three million people around the world and almost 60 communities.

He was inspired to link communities named Norfolk and Norwich after working at the Guildhall as assistant curator of the city regalia in 1991 alongside Stanley Taylor.

When he noticed that visitors from 10 places had addresses with either Norfolk or Norwich, he was promoted to start a major research project.

During the next two decades, he travelled more than two and a half million miles visiting communities and addressing dozens of meetings on his globe-trotting mission.

It led to the First Norwich & Norfolk Family Gathering in July 1996 when about 200 visitors from around the world joined the 900th anniversary celebrations of Norwich Cathedral and the Lord Mayor’s street procession. Others followed in Norfolk Island in the South Pacific in 2000 and also at Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada, to mark the Family’s 10th anniversary.

Around the world, there are more than 2,000 place, business and family names as well as islands, villages and even mountains named either Norwich or Norfolk – including an Antarctic ice cap and a tiny island in Ullswater, in the Lake District, which is only exposed at low water.

For a full obituary see tomorrow’s paper.

Please feel free to leave your tributes using the comments section below.




Norfolk Weather



max temp: 8°C

min temp: 2°C

Five-day forecast