WATCH: Poignant scenes as street claps funeral cortege for bowls’ ace Vera, 87
PUBLISHED: 10:42 24 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:42 24 June 2020
Dressed in their best club shirts, bowlers lined a street in Caister to applaud the funeral cortege of one of their own.
Not being able to attend the service meant Caister Bowls Club had to think of some other way to honour Vera Punchard, who has died aged 87 during the lockdown.
Great Yarmouth-born Mrs Punchard had been bowling in the village for decades and was remembered by those who turned out to pay their respects in Braddock Road, where she lived, as “a very special lady”.
Some 50 members along with friends and neighbours lined the street, working to maintain social distancing as they did, clapping as the hearse passed.
One of them was waving a yellow duster in fond tribute to Mrs Punchard whose failing eyesight meant they had to wave it over the cot ball to help her take aim.
Club chairman Ray Reeson said he was heartened by the turnout on Monday, June 22, when under normal circumstances they would have been returning from their club tour.
He said Mrs Punchard was among the longest serving members of the club, which has celebrated more than 50 years in its current form.
Always competitive and still on good form despite her failing eyesight, he described her as “very family orientated and very willing”.
“Of all the people we have in the club she is the one person that everyone loves,” he added.
Her husband of 66 years Cliff was a founder member, he said, and son Graham was also a member.
The couple were great-grandparents and loved their garden, he said.
Jane Cockrill, club treasurer and ladies captain, said: “We could not let her go without honouring her.
“She has been at the club for years and we have so many memories of her.
“She was a bowler all her life.
“She could not see very well but she still played, and she still played well.
“We used to dangle a cloth and she could get it right on the jack.
“She was a very passionate and popular member of the club.”
Normally the club would have staged a guard of honour but decided to line the funeral route and give her a respectful round of applause.
The club, based in Allendale Road, has some 75 members.
Although they have not been able to meet up during the pandemic they have been keeping in touch by phone and email.
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