Hundreds bid emotional farewell to Norfolk County Council social services director Harold Bodmer
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay a poignant farewell to the former director of Norfolk County Council's adult social services department in an emotional service at the city's cathedral.
The grieving family of Harold Bodmer shared moving memories of a beloved husband and father, while colleagues from County Hall paid tribute to a 'universally-liked' man.
Mr Bodmer, 61, died after being taken ill at a meeting at County Hall on Wednesday, July 20. Despite attempts by colleagues and emergency crews, he could not be revived.
His wife Julie told yesterday's service she had lost her 'soulmate'.
She said the night before his death, he called her while on the train coming home from work to ask if she wanted to go to the coast.
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She said they had gone to Cromer, had fish and chips and talked about their plans for his retirement early next year. She said she had taken a photograph of him 'looking wistful', little realising it would be the last picture she would take of him.
The family said they had taken comfort from the tributes following Mr Bodmer's sudden death.
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Mrs Bodmer said: 'The loss of Harold will leave a big hole in our hearts which will be partially patched by the kind thoughts, memories and photographs, but will never be entirely healed.' She said she was 'privileged' he chose to share his life with her.
Mr Bodmer leaves sons Joel and Sam and daughter Holly, who all paid tribute to their devoted dad.
Born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, Mr Bodmer moved to England in 1977 and initially worked as a social worker in Lambeth. By the time of his death he was not only director of adult social services in Norfolk but was president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.
Peter Hawes, managing director of council-owned Norse Commercial Services, said Mr Bodmer's legacy would continue and said: 'If just a small piece of his character rubs off on us all as a result of this tragedy, the world will be a better place.'
The service featured musical reflections from the Zimbabwe Community Singers. Instead of flowers, the family asked for donations to the Mudeke Foundation and the Mashinga Trust, two charities which help youngsters in Zimbabwe.
Donations can be sent c/o RJ Bartram & Son Funeral Service, 31, Hargham Road, Attleborough, NR17 2ES.