Heartbroken family will always remember loving father for his smile and sense of fun

Wayne Shuckford with wife Debby on their silver wedding anniversary in November 2013, just a few weeks before he died. Wayne Shuckford with wife Debby on their silver wedding anniversary in November 2013, just a few weeks before he died.

Friday, December 13, 2013
8:34 AM

A heartbroken family has paid tribute to a caring father who will forever be remembered for his smile, his kindness and his sense of fun.

Wayne Shuckford, 48, was driving on Southgates Road in Great Yarmouth last Monday when he suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage at the wheel and crashed into a parked car.

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Wayne Shuckford with wife Debby on their wedding day in 1988. Picture from the Shuckford family.Wayne Shuckford with wife Debby on their wedding day in 1988. Picture from the Shuckford family.

The father of two’s sudden death less than three weeks before Christmas and only a month after he celebrated 25 years of marriage, has devastated his wife Debby and sons Jonathan, 23, and James, 20, as well as hundreds of friends and colleagues who are expected to attend his funeral in Belton on Tuesday.

Mr Shuckford worked as an electrician for Yarmouth firm Offshore Design Engineering Ltd (OED) for many years and a number of colleagues will fly back from the offshore oil rigs to say goodbye.

And while Mrs Shuckford, 50, is not sure how she will get through Christmas without her soulmate, she said the family will forever take comfort in the happy memories Wayne leaves behind.

“My husband was incredibly kind,” said Mrs Shuckford, of Wensum Way, Belton.

“He had a way of drawing people in. And he was always smiling.”

Mr Shuckford, born in Great Yarmouth and raised in Belton, was an only child and close to his parents Yvonne and Ray, known as Spud.

Just a few days before his tragic death, he told his mum how he couldn’t wait for the family to spend Christmas Day together.

“I was ready to tear down the Christmas decorations when we got back from the hospital,” said Yvonne, 70.

“I wanted to put it all away and forget about it, but we’ve decided go ahead like we planned. Wayne would want that.”

A former Waveney First School, Lothingland Middle School and Benjamin Britten High School student, Mr Shuckford was an air cadet and wanted to join the RAF before colour blindness ruled that career path out. Instead, he became an apprentice electrician for Great Yarmouth Borough Council and went on to work for offshore firms, flying to and from North Sea rigs for nearly 30 years.

His life changed when he met Debby at the age of 22.

She was working on a customer service counter at Tesco when Wayne walked into her life.

“I was at the counter and I felt someone looking at me,” remembered Mrs Shuckford.

“I looked up and there was a man stood there, trying not to laugh”.

“He asked me if I knew Ray, his dad, who worked at Tesco. I said yes, and he asked me if I could give something to him. That’s when he put this bundled up piece of tissue into my hand.

“I asked what it was – and as soon as I asked, I knew I shouldn’t have. ‘It’s my dad’s false teeth’, he said.

“Wayne was just grinning. And he had the naughtiest look in his eye.

“I think I fell in love with him then and there.”

Three months after meeting, Wayne proposed and the couple married at St Nicholas Minster church in November 1988.

When their eldest son, Jonathan, arrived in 1990, Wayne vowed to spend more time at home and never again took a job that would take him away for more than three weeks at a time.

“He was a wonderful dad,” said Mrs Shuckford.

“When he came home from work he wouldn’t sit on the sofa, he would do whatever needed to be done whether it was the vacuuming or the cleaning or just picking up the baby; he would do it.

“I remember one summer we were in the garden and he was playing with Jonathan. He looked at me and said, ‘I think we need another one to keep this one occupied’.”

“On the day James was born, Wayne said to me ‘I’ve got everything that I want’.”

Debby said Wayne loved to make people laugh and enjoyed himself, but never took anything for granted.

“He used to teach the boys that when you go through life you are responsible for every decision, every choice,” she said.

“He would say that freedom doesn’t come free. He said someone, somewhere had worked for it and you can’t take that for granted.

“Yes, he could have a whinge about things sometimes. He knew how to sulk and, believe me, he could drive me mad sometimes. But he was a good man.”

An avid Norwich City Football Club fan, Mr Shuckford enjoyed watching rugby and snooker and was a passionate England supporter. “I remember when Norwich went up to the Premiership, he leapt up in the air and smashed the lampshade,” said Mrs Shuckford.

“He liked to have a good time. He liked going to the pub with his friends and we’d go out with friends on Fridays – we would have such a laugh.

“Wayne was never governed by material things, but he made sure we had a nice home. We had a lot of parties and he loved barbecues. We had such fun together. We laughed a lot. I can’t believe he has gone.”

Mr Shuckford leaves his wife Debby and sons Jonathan and James, his parents Yvonne and Ray, his mother and father-in-law, Lynda and James, and his Australian relatives auntie Podgy (Olive), Lisa and Harward and their families.

The funeral service will be held at All Saints’ Church in Little Belton at 2.15pm and followed by a reception at Burgh Hall, where all are welcome. Family flowers only, but donations to the air ambulance.

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