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‘He gave and gave to his community’: Shock and sadness at the sudden death of ‘Mr Acle’, 71

PUBLISHED: 13:33 27 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:07 27 June 2020

Brian Grint sitting at the location of the Acle stocks in 2009. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Brian Grint sitting at the location of the Acle stocks in 2009. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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Local historian Brian Grint has been hailed as ‘Mr Acle’ by heartbroken friends and colleagues after suffering a suspected heart attack on Wednesday. He died despite the efforts of paramedics and an air ambulance crew.

Tributes have been paid to Brian Grint, described as Mr Acle. PHOTO: Acle Parish CouncilTributes have been paid to Brian Grint, described as Mr Acle. PHOTO: Acle Parish Council

The 71-year-old was bowls royalty, representing Norfolk and organising the long-running Festival of Bowls in Great Yarmouth, as well as backing countless other community projects.

His partner Jayne Greenacre said: “He was a gentleman, generous, funny and he couldn’t sit still for a minute.

“He would greet everyone with a smile and that is what made him stand out.

“He was always asking how you are.

Karen Mair who runs the Acle War memorial recreation centre with Brian Grint. PHOTO: Nick ButcherKaren Mair who runs the Acle War memorial recreation centre with Brian Grint. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

“He was actually born in Halvergate and lived there for a long time, helping to create the Halvergate Social Club.

“His family came from there and he didn’t move to Acle until the 1980s.

“He loved his allotment and it is all still sitting there.

“He couldn’t wait to dig up his new potatoes.

Brian Grint outside Coburgh House in Acle. PHOTO: Nick ButcherBrian Grint outside Coburgh House in Acle. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

“He was a passionate man and when he did something he did it wholeheartedly.”

The father-of-one spent more than three decades on Acle’s Parish Council, returning most recently in last year’s elections alongside Mrs Greenacre.

Councillor Angela Bishop, parish council chair, said: “‘Mr Acle’ was a very well respected and much loved member of our Acle community and parish councilor.

“Brian was an Acle boy through and through. He loved his village and has served several terms on the parish council, the first for 30 years and most recently for the past couple of years.

Brian Grint, pictured in 2003, was on the Acle Bypass Celebration Committee. PHOTO: Steve ParsonsBrian Grint, pictured in 2003, was on the Acle Bypass Celebration Committee. PHOTO: Steve Parsons

“Brian’s passion was bowling and he was a qualified greens keeper of Acle St Edmunds Bowls Club and spent some of his happiest moments there.

“In fact, Brian was instrumental in the planning and building of Acle War Memorial Recreation Centre and was very proud of his achievements.

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“Brian was a great lover of community events and bringing the community together.

Tributes have been paid to 'Mr Acle' Brian Grint. PHOTO: Acle Parish CouncilTributes have been paid to 'Mr Acle' Brian Grint. PHOTO: Acle Parish Council

“He was a shining example of someone who gave and gave to his community, never asking for anything in return.

“Brian gave himself wholeheartedly to this village, right until the very end and he will leave a big hole in all our lives.

“Acle will never forget his great legacy.”

He was also involved in the celebration committee following the opening of the Acle bypass in 1989, and the Olympic Torch Event in 2012.

Brian Grint at the 2012 Olympic Torch event in Acle. PHOTO: Acle Parish CouncilBrian Grint at the 2012 Olympic Torch event in Acle. PHOTO: Acle Parish Council

Mr Grint became chairman of Great Yarmouth’s annual Festival of Bowls last year, and was set to welcome more than 1,000 players for the four-week event at the end of August.

The festival was cancelled, however, for the first time since the Second World War due to the coronavirus outbreak in what would have been their 75th year.

Great Yarmouth Borough Councillor Marlene Fairhead, who serves on the Bowls Tournament Working Party, said: “He was a really nice guy and was involved in an awful lot of projects.

“Bowls was a big delight in his life, and people in Acle will be really sad about the news because he was a great local historian.

“He has been part of the bowls committee for a number of years and took over from Derek Webster as chairman last year after working alongside him for a long time, so it was nice to have the continuity there.

“It is a big job to organise the festival, and one which take a lot of time, but the committee was always very supportive of Brian.

“There was just such a lot to him, and he will be greatly missed by everyone.

“He was a really nice chap, always happy to get involved, polite and cheerful.

“We were looking forward and had planned quite a lot for the festival.

“He had so much more to offer and I will have to try and remember all his ideas to make sure they carry on.”

Parish councillors will hold a minutes silence for Mr Grint at their monthly meeting on Monday, June 29.


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