Heritage centre unveils new bench in memory of 'Mr Downham'

Much-missed: the late Tinker Taylor, a great servant to his beloved Downham Market, pictured in 2010

Much-missed: the late Tinker Taylor, a great servant to his beloved Downham Market, pictured in 2010. - Credit: IAN BURT

A memorial bench dedicated to a man affectionately known as 'Mr Downham' has been unveiled at the Discover Downham Heritage Centre.

Raymond 'Tinker' Taylor, who was born in Barroway Drove, is fondly remembered as a "cheerful chap", who was at the heart of his community in Downham Market for more than half a century.

He served as the town's mayor three times as well as being a founder member of a host of local organisations including the Civray Twinning Club, the Festival Committee, and the Downham Market and District Heritage Society - which now runs the town's heritage centre.

My Taylor died at the age of 84 in 2013.

Tinker Taylor was a well-known and loved figure in Downham Market, often referred to as 'Mr Downham'.

Tinker Taylor was a well-known and loved figure in Downham Market, often referred to as 'Mr Downham'. - Credit: Discover Downham

But the memory of the much-loved character, who earned the title of 'Mr Downham', continues to live on.

A wooden bench was dedicated in his memory in the courtyard of Discover Downham with a commemorative plaque when the centre first opened in 2016, but decayed over the years.

It has now been replaced with a recycled plastic bench with the plaque by Downham Market Town Council.

A new recycled plastic bench with a plaque in memory of Tinker Taylor has been replaced by Downham Market Town Council.

A new recycled plastic bench with a plaque in memory of Tinker Taylor has been replaced by Downham Market Town Council. - Credit: Discover Downham

A Discover Downham spokesperson said: "At the same time a matching bench is also being donated by one of the volunteers in memory of their family, so the courtyard at Discover Downham is once again an inviting place to sit."

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A volunteer added: "The commemorative plaque sums it up perfectly, 'in memory of Tinker Taylor 1929 - 2013.'

"He loved Downham Market and we all remember him."

The centre collects and displays documents and artefacts relating to the history of Downham Market and the surrounding villages, something Mr Taylor was "passionate about".

A spokesperson added: "He would have also approved of the variety of social events held there and the space that is available for hire by local community groups at affordable rates.

"His other important connection to the centre was that he was an auxiliary fireman.

"Amongst other things he promoted the idea of The Willows Nature Reserve, the little gem of a wildlife area in the centre of Downham Market, which is now legally protected."

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