‘Nobody has done more to sustain village community life than her’ - villagers find a special way to ensure inspirational woman Susan Yaxley is never forgotten

Susan Yaxley.

Susan Yaxley. - Credit: Archant

An inspirational figure who was awarded for outstanding contribution to East Anglian literature will never be forgotten in the village she embraced after a memorial bench was unveiled in her memory.

Susan Yaxley memorial bench unveiled. Susan's husband David pictured with their sons Thomas and Robe

Susan Yaxley memorial bench unveiled. Susan's husband David pictured with their sons Thomas and Robert. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Susan Yaxley, who founded Larks Press in 1985, and received the inaugural East Anglian Book Awards UNESCO City of Literature Exceptional Contribution Award in 2015, died of liver cancer on November 16, aged 79.

Mrs Yaxley moved to Stibbard, near Fakenham, from Hemel Hempstead in 1965 with her husband David.

She was chairman of Stibbard Parish Council, a member of Stibbard Village Hall Committee and Stibbard WI and a trustee of the Stibbard Parochial Charitable Trust. The groups paid for the memorial bench, near Stibbard's All Saints Church.

The unveiling was on Thursday, which would have been Mrs Yaxley's 80th birthday.

Susan Yaxley memorial bench unveiled. Susan's husband David pictured with their sons Thomas and Robe

Susan Yaxley memorial bench unveiled. Susan's husband David pictured with their sons Thomas and Robert. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Mr Yaxley, who attended the unveiling with sons Robert and Thomas, Mrs Yaxley's sister Judith Owen and more than 50 villagers, said: 'Susan was very humble and she never would have expected this. It is wonderful that people have made this effort.'

History and literature were two of Mrs Yaxley's lifelong passions. She published books on Tudor Home Life, the Reformation in Norfolk Churches, the rising of 1549, Wymondham Abbey before the Dissolution, the Siege of King's Lynn in 1643, short biographies of Thomas Bilney, Bishop Herbert de Losinga, and Queen Alexandra, and several literary and musical quiz books.

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In 1985 Mrs Yaxley set up Larks Press to provide typsetting work for her eldest son, Thomas, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Larks Press has published 170 books, most with a Norfolk connection.

Mrs Yaxley was a magistrate and founded the Stibbard Players in the 1970s. She was a member of the Thornhill Singers and sang in other choirs.

Stibbard Parish Council chairman Piers Reinhold said: 'This village is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 and I really don't think anyone has done more to encourage and sustain village community life since then or indeed now, than Susan.'

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