Friends and colleagues mourn passing of a Cromer character and ‘massive’ Liverpool and Norwich City fan

Colleagues lined up outside a Cromer factory to pay their respects to a popular man from the town, who has died at the age of 46.

Funeral director Philip Slaney slowed the cortege as it passed Cromer Crab Factory, where Paul John Bowen worked before his death on March 28.

Paul, whose funeral was at Cromer Cemetery chapel on April 16, followed by burial close to his father, Mike Bowen, was a keen football fan and a much-loved friend and colleague to many people in his home town.

He died in Priscilla Bacon Lodge with his family by his side, 13 days after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the adrenal glands.

The funeral service was conducted by Robin Watson, officiating celebrant, with moving tributes by Paul's brother Neil and his uncle Tony Webster.

Born with severe health complications, including deafness and a speech defect, Paul attended Sidestrand Hall School as a child, and in adult life he worked for Gordon Bailey, Bernard Matthews, Heinz, Morrisons and, for the four years up until his death, as a forklift truck driver for The Cromer Crab Company.

Mr Slaney, from Fox's Funeral Services, slowed the funeral cortege down as it passed by the company's premises on Holt Road, where some of Paul's colleagues who were unable to attend the funeral stood outside to pay their respects.

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Born in 1966, Paul was destined to be an avid football fan. He adored Liverpool FC from a very early age, and managed to complete his personal holiday of a lifetime to Liverpool shortly before he became ill. He had also been a season ticket holder at Norwich City for many years.

The funeral had a strong football theme running throughout, with the chapel being adorned with Paul's extensive collection of Liverpool, Norwich and England football shirts, many mourners wearing football shirts and scarves, the singing of You'll Never Walk Alone, and a minute's applause to celebrate Paul's life.

After the burial, family and mourners continued the celebration at The Cliftonville Hotel in Cromer. Donations in memory of Paul are welcomed at Fox's Funeral Services, Canada Road, Cromer, and are to be shared equally between Priscilla Bacon Lodge and Norwich City Football Club's Community Sports Foundation.

Family mourners were Paul's mother Gerry Staynes and stepfather Graham, sister Kay Batten and husband Jon, brother Neil Bowen and wife Lynn, nieces and nephews Xander (and partner Caitlin Gook), Charlie, Carly and Max. Tony and Peggy Webster, Geoff, Lottie and Jack Webster, Robert Webster, Philip Webster, Sally and Peter Farrington, Pam Batten, Howard and Sarah Rawlings, Phillip Batten and Margaret Winders, Graham and Carol Hill, Karen and Chris Thompson, Judy Staynes and Sophie Tweed.

Other mourners included Michelle Nash (Tony Nash and M. Leeds), Beryl Mansell (Bryan Mansell and Jane Leeds), Dan Platton (family) and Sarah Warren, Mike Crowe, Mark Price, Mark Rudd, Craig and Nina Sexton, Michael Jackson, Debbie Rowntree, Tony and Diana O'Shea, Darren Earl, Jon Morris, Rita Holland, Daisy Spurgeon (Inner Wheel), M. Ford, Barbara Reed (Harry Reed) Peggy Littlewood, Valerie Marshall (Shaun and Robert Marshall), Esme Vincent (Cliff Vincent), Diane Goldson, Andrew Church, Teresa Baker, Justin Wilkins, Duncan Cleall, Jane Nicholson (Inner Wheel), Chris Key, Allen Vaughan (the Barker family), Richard and Mary Howlett, Chris Yaxley, Pam and Lew Harrison, Will and Tracey Howett, Neil and Hazel Patrickson (Sidestrand Hall School), Kay Blythe-Milner, Roz Cummins, Maddy Cutting, Tom Ralph, Peter Stott, Stuart Keeble, Mandy Seybold (Seybold family), Jim Walker, Jason Hughes, Gordon Sheppard, Tomasz Zurek, Valerijus Sermak, Paulina Parszcz, Cheryl Hurman, Freda Copland, Dawn Howe, Rosemary Curtis, Diane and Mick Ransome, Neil and Elaine Morrell, Kevin Dawson, Bert and Reva Vincent, Graham Knott, D. Girling, Brian and Beverley Hopper and Maureen Windridge.

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