Funeral held for much loved windsurfer after body found in Sweden

Chris Bamfield, 65, was last seen at Hunstanton beach on Saturday, November 14. Picture: Norfolk Co

Chris Bamfield, 65, was last seen at Hunstanton beach on Saturday, November 14. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

Tribute has been paid to Chris Bamfield, a windsurfer who went missing from Hunstanton in November.

A funeral for Mr Bamfield, a retired executive director at West Norfolk Council, was held on Tuesday after his body was recently found in Sweden.

Mr Bamfield, 65, from Middleton, went missing while windsurfing in Hunstanton in November 2020.

At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, councillors at WNC paid tribute to their former colleague, holding a minute's silence while buildings across the town were lit up in his memory.

Stuart Dark, the leader of the council, asked the cabinet to join him in remembering the father of two.

"Today is a difficult day for King's Lynn and the borough council," he said.

"One of our respected colleagues, Chris Bamfield, passed away in difficult circumstances. 

"It was his funeral this morning, and I would like you to join with me in a minute of silent reflection and support to Chris' family and his many many friends.

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"He was a friend, a colleague and proud servant of this borough. He supported cabinet member a number of times over the years."

A tribute from colleagues at West Norfolk council, where Chris Bamfield was head of leisure and open

A tribute from colleagues at West Norfolk council, where Chris Bamfield was head of leisure and open space before he retired Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

A council spokesperson, who left a message on social media, said: "The King's Lynn Town Hall and Alive Corn Exchange will be lit up in red this evening in memory of our colleague and friend, Chris Bamfield, whose funeral took place today.

"Our thoughts are with his family. The family would like to include: 'Our hero. The rudder that guided our ship through life.

“'As he brought light to the town, let the light bring life to his memory.'”

Mr Bamfield was last seen on Saturday, November 14, after going missing near the Hunstanton sailing club.

Tributes have been left near the spot on Hunstanton promenade where missing surfer Chris Bamfield wa

Tributes have been left near the spot on Hunstanton promenade where missing surfer Chris Bamfield was last seen Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

RNLI crews searched through to Monday afternoon but there was no trace of Mr Bamfield.

After his disappearance family and friends left flowers and messages close to where Mr Bamfield was last seen.

Paying tribute to her husband, Mr Bamfield’s wife Vanessa said in a hand-written message: “Chris my love, you were my life, my rock, my hero.

“We had so many plans we will still do them in the afterlife.

“Be in peace, my love. I have always loved you for 37 years and will do so until the day I die. Your loving Vanessa.”

A heart made of pebbles next to the tributes to Chris Bamfield on the prom at Hunstanton Picture: C

A heart made of pebbles next to the tributes to Chris Bamfield on the prom at Hunstanton Picture: Chris Bishop - Credit: Archant

A message signed Jamie and Conny said: “Dad, in a time that leaves us with so many questions we are so grateful for the lessons you have taught us and the strength you have instilled in our family.

“For generations to come our kids, your grandchildren, will feel your presence always. Love you forever surf bum.”

A fundraising appeal set up to thank the emergency services for their role in the search raised more than £12,000 after around 450 people donated.

Many people donating paid tribute to Mr Bamfield, who was West Norfolk council’s head of leisure before he retired in 2019.

Simon Brown said: “Chris, with all of your input and hard work, you have left your mark on the town of King's Lynn.

"Over the years you worked tirelessly with Festival Too and Fawkes in the Walks, shaking the money box to help finance these events.

"Now we shake this box to raise as much money as possible for this great cause, I will miss you about the golf course, our thoughts are with your family at such a sad time.”

Debbie Gates added: “Thank you to the RNLI for all your efforts in trying to find Chris. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

"We shared many tears of laughter over the years, and now they are tears of loss, but we will treasure our memories of happier times with a much-loved colleague who worked tirelessly for west Norfolk for nearly 30 years.”

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