Billy Bishop

Tributes have been paid to a north Norfolk hero who risked his own life to save the lives of fellow villagers after a terrifying flood in 1953.

Tributes have been paid to a north Norfolk hero who risked his own life to save the lives of fellow villagers after a terrifying flood in 1953.

Without a thought for himself, Billy Bishop ran through Cley to warn residents that torrents of gushing water were heading straight for them.

Mr Bishop then braved the ferocious flood waters in a flimsy dinghy to rescue author and broadcaster Gordon Lee, better known as Buttercup Joe, who was stranded up a tree.

Mr Bishop, who died on June 1 at the age of 96, never received an award for his heroic actions on that night of January 31, which undoubtedly saved lives in his home village. Des Barney, 79, from Sheringham, witnessed at first hand how the sports-loving sea defence worker braved the flood waters for more than an hour. He said: "Billy was a hero. When he went to rescue Buttercup Joe from up a tree his hands were red raw from rowing."


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Mr Bishop (pictured), who took part in the D-Day landings, was a keen birdwatcher and footballer and also enjoyed snooker, cycling and horse racing.

Mr Bishop, a great-great-grandfather, leaves eight children. His funeral is today at St Andrew's Church, Holt at noon.

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