Agnes Cain: Norfolk woman won top Royal British Legion award

One of the Royal British Legion's highest awards was made to retired Norfolk school caretaker Agnes Cain (pictured), who has died aged 88 at a Dereham nursing home.

In recognition of 37 years' service as secretary at West Raynham, she was presented with the national golden award of the women's section, which is rarely made, in January 1994.

A legion member in her own right, she had volunteered and served during the second world war with the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service), the women's branch of the Army.

Born in Stanhoe, her parents moved to West Raynham, when she was three years old. After leaving school, she worked for a family near Fakenham but volunteered as soon as she was old enough for the ATS.

She returned to West Raynham and started work at the primary school, which she had attended as a pupil, and retired in 1988 after completing 38 years. In 1949, it had two classrooms and no electricity or central heating and her daily duties included lighting three fires.

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She was clerk to the parish council for more than 20 years. A former council chairman, farmer Nigel Joice, said that she was a 'true village stalwart'.

She was a member of the parochial church council following in the footsteps of her grandfather, who had been churchwarden.

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Mrs Cain had one child, her daughter Valerie, who was born three months after the death of her husband, Albert.

She had set up the Raynham RBL's women section in 1953 when it separated from Fakenham. When she moved to Fakenham after retiring from the school in 1990, she became secretary to the men's section in the town.

She leaves a daughter, Valerie, grandchildren Mandy, Dougie and Wudge (Martin), and seven great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, December 16 at St Mary's Church, East Raynham, at 2pm.

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