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Man who loved Norfolk could ‘illuminate the past in so many ways’

PUBLISHED: 09:10 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:33 18 April 2018

Ron Fiske. Picture: COURTESY OF HIS FAMILY

Ron Fiske. Picture: COURTESY OF HIS FAMILY

Archant

“I am myself a Norfolk man, and glory in being so.”

Entente Cordiale..... A toast to the future of the two societies. Ron Fiske, left, pictured in 2001 with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte-Wyse and Bernard Petit, president of the Napoleonic Association. Picture: JOHN HOCKNELLEntente Cordiale..... A toast to the future of the two societies. Ron Fiske, left, pictured in 2001 with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte-Wyse and Bernard Petit, president of the Napoleonic Association. Picture: JOHN HOCKNELL

Although this famous quote is ascribed to Nelson it could have just as easily have come from one of the greatest authorities on the Lord Admiral - Ron Fiske.

And now tributes have been paid to Mr Fiske, who died last month aged 80.

Mr Fiske was born and lived for many years in North Walsham. He worked as an architectural surveyor but his true passion was local history, and he became a ‘go-to man’ for academics and researchers who wanted to know more about Norfolk’s past.

His daughters, Hazel Hayman and Brenda Fursse, said: “Beyond the world of history Ron was kind and modest, a good friend and brother and a loving father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed, not only by his family, but by all who share Ron’s enthusiasm for the county of Norfolk. He has earned the highest place in the roll call of local historians.”

Norfolk's crest in flowers, which was prepared for his funeral to reflect his love of both the county, and of heraldry. Picture: COURTESY OF HAZEL HAYMANNorfolk's crest in flowers, which was prepared for his funeral to reflect his love of both the county, and of heraldry. Picture: COURTESY OF HAZEL HAYMAN

Mr Fiske was married for 54 years to Marilyn (nee Davies). They met in 1959 on a train, both travelling to work at Laurence Scott Electromotors.

They bought Morningthorpe Manor in the 1990s and restored the historic south Norfolk country house.

There, Mr Fiske continued to build up his historical library which grew to more than 30,000 books and pamphlets. After Marilyn died in 2013, Mr Fiske moved back to north Norfolk.

Dr Rob Knee, chairman of the Paston Heritage Society, said although Mr Fiske was an authority on many subjects, he had the humility to realise there would be things did not know.

Ron Fiske. Picture: COURTESY OF HIS FAMILYRon Fiske. Picture: COURTESY OF HIS FAMILY

Dr Knee said Mr Fiske was: “Someone who has illuminated the past in so many ways, to so many curious and enquiring individuals - an audience that he responded to kindly, patiently and tirelessly, an audience he invariably left full of answers and full of respect and admiration.”

Mr Fiske was an inaugural member of the Nelson Society and its chairman for nine years. He helped form the North Walsham and District Historical Society, Cromer Museum and the Norfolk Nelson Museum in Great Yarmouth.

He was also an expert on heraldry and was made a fellow of the National Heraldry Society. He also had four grandchildren and three brothers.

A service celebrating his life was held at St Nicholas Church in North Walsham on April 10.

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