By MARK TWEEDIE
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Family, friends and grateful recipients of the youth and welfare work of tireless Norfolk Royal British Legion stalwart Rowland Hall will gather to celebrate his life this month.
Mr Hall, who died in October aged 76, was renowned for his welfare work with ex-forces organisations such as the legion and the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) and for his years of involvement with the air cadets, especially 1249 (Dereham) Squadron when based at the then RAF station in his home village of Swanton Morley.
He was known too as a great organiser, being closely involved with parades and civic occasions as varied as Remembrance Sunday and Armed Forces Day and the Lord Mayor’s Procession in Norwich, as well as charitable occasions.
His widow Janette and son Darren have been moved by the number of tributes they have received since his death, particularly those from people whom he had helped while assisting former Service people and their families. And they are hoping to welcome many of those faces at the thanksgiving service, taking place at All Saints’ Church, Swanton Morley, on Saturday, January 26, at 11am.
It will be followed by a social gathering at Dereham Memorial Hall for Mr Hall’s family, friends and acquaintances. Donations will be received at the church for Dereham and District branch of the legion – of which Mr Hall served as president for 18 years – and for RAFA and Dereham Club for the Blind; they can also be sent to RJ Bartram and Son funeral directors, 17 Theatre Street, Dereham, NR19 2EW.
Mr Hall, originally from Scunthorpe, joined the RAF at 16, and his British and overseas postings included the then air station at Swanton, the village where he eventually settled.
He ended his full RAF career as a warrant officer but then took a commission in the RAF Volunteer Reserve, becoming a flight lieutenant and taking command of 1249 Squadron of the air cadets, having been actively involved with the Air Training Corps from an early age.
Mr Hall worked for Norwich Chamber of Commerce and as a civil servant working at RAF Marham. He was asked to set up an NVQ centre at Marham to help Service people gain the qualifications they needed for their return to civvy street, and his involvement in that work occupied him well into later life.
Mr Hall was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1977 for his high-quality work during his RAF career and his contribution to 1249 Squadron ATC. Last year, he was honoured by Dereham Town Council as a recipient of one of its special Jubilee Awards, given to mark the Queen’s 60-year reign and celebrating the unstinting service of local volunteers.