Dereham mourns the loss of popular stallholder
Dereham came to a standstill as a popular stallholder made his final journey through the town's market place.
Richard Sizeland's fruit and vegetable stall was a familiar sight at markets across Norfolk for more than 40 years until his sudden death at the end of last month.
The 62-year-old's funeral was held on a market day and his cortege travelled through the town centre this morning (Tuesday), with many shoppers stopping to pay their respects.
His coffin, bearing decorative fruit, was taken to St Nicholas Church and the service was attended by fellow traders as well as friends and family.
Former Dereham mayor Phillip Duigan was the town council's representative at the service. He said: 'Richard was such a significant character. He was the unofficial leader of the market and a forthright supporter of it.
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'If you wanted to get a feel for the temperature of the market, Richard was the person you would go to.
'He was such an important character and he will be sorely missed. He was there for 40 years, supporting the market place through good times and bad. People like that are the life-blood of the market and it is good to hear that his family intend to carry on with the stall.
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'It is very important that people like this are remembered. The service was very good, and there was standing room only at the back.'
It is thought Mr Sizeland, who lived in Dereham all his life, may have suffered a heart attack while out for a drive. His body was found at Beachamwell, near Swaffham, on Saturday, July 30.
Dereham Town Council has placed a notice on Mr Sizeland's regular pitch informing people of his death and last week flowers were laid in his memory.
Mr Sizeland, a life-long Norwich City fan, leaves four children – Alexa, 41, Daniel, 27, and twins Edward and Oliver, 23 – his ex-wife Pauline, brother Paul and his 95-year-old mother, Agnes.
Town centre manager Nigel Sizeland said: 'I knew Richard many years ago when I used to help friends on their market stall. I renewed my acquaintance with Richard again more than seven years ago. He was a great guy who loved his job and Dereham.'
'Although Richard and I have the same surname, we were not related. There are a few Sizelands in and around North Norfolk, but not many elsewhere in the UK.
Mr Sizeland went straight into the fruit and vegetable trade on leaving school and started R Sizeland Markets when he was 21.
He often worked with his brother, Paul, and had many loyal customers and staff.