Family of Great Yarmouth policeman raise thousands in his memory

Merv Middleton in police uniform, from EDP archives

Merv Middleton in police uniform, from EDP archives - Credit: Archant

The caring legacy of a well-known Great Yarmouth policeman who served the borough for more than 30 years has raised an incredible £15,000 in the year since he died.

A cheque is presented to the Louise Hamilton in memory of Merv Middleton, wife Eileen second from r

A cheque is presented to the Louise Hamilton in memory of Merv Middleton, wife Eileen second from right. Picture submitted - Credit: Archant

Mervyn Middleton was diagnosed with three inoperable brain tumours in August 2011 and just eight months later, at the age of 65, they claimed his life.

His family were rocked by his death but decided they wanted to keep his memory alive - and give something back to those that had supported them - so set about fundraising in his name.

And exactly a year on from his death they have raised £15,000 for charity - which has been split between the Louise Hamilton Centre in Gorleston, the Big C and brain tumour research at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

His wife of 21 years Eileen said: 'We wanted to make a positive out of a negative. He was always planning ahead and we just decided we would give back a little of what people had given as support.

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'Through the sad times we're raising money like a lot of other people do.'

Mervyn, who was born and brought up in the borough, began his career with the police as a cadet at the age of 18 and moved up the ranks working as a traffic commander, firearms specialist, custody sergeant and finally crime reduction sergeant for Great Yarmouth.

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He became ill while he and Eileen, 65, were on holiday but it was not until he had a CT scan that his tumours were revealed.

'The prognosis we got was 'there's not really a lot we can do for you'. A week before that he was fine,' Eileen said. 'It was very sudden.'

The couple, who set up their own business after Mervyn left the police, were set to go travelling in their motorhome as they approached retirement.

And although the sudden diagnosis put a stop to this the pair did not let it spoil their plan to renew their vows, and a simple ceremony was carried out at the James Paget Hospital chapel just a week before he died.

Eileen added: 'We were going to renew them on our 25th anniversary but we were robbed of that. We did it on our 21st, it lasted about an hour then he had to go back to his room.'

The fundraising began at Mervyn's funeral, which was attended by more than 450 people and raised £2,800 through donations.

Eileen and son in law Simon then took part in a charity skydive and the Merv Middleton Cup followed. The golf tournament, organised by Eileen's son and daughter through their business P&S Personnel, attracted more than 70 players last year and will be teeing off again in June.

The family have also tackled triathalons and scaled mountains in Mervyn's memory and the charitable coffers have been boosted by pledges and donations from friends.

Eileen, who now works as a volunteer at the Louise Hamilton Centre, thought Mervyn would be proud of the family's efforts.

'He's been with us all the way through,' she added. 'He was somebody that anybody could go to and ask for advice. He was always there for people.'

Anyone interested in getting involved in the Merv Middleton Cup next year, as a player or to provide raffle prizes, should call 01493 330338.

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