Colin Griffin: Norfolk potato merchant and successful farmer

Potato merchant, farmer and businessman Colin Griffin has died peacefully aged 64 at his Mid-Norfolk home.

Starting with �500 in the early 1970s, he built up an extensive potato business and expanded into other vegetable crops including a substantial area of carrots.

He became one of the country's largest producers of field-grown rhubarb with about 100 acres in the fields around Beeston, near Dereham.

Born in the fens at Emneth, his natural business ability led him to start Norfolk Farm Produce, of Beeston, and also Mid-Norfolk Canners.

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He relished the challenge to move the business ahead, now involving his son, Christopher, and had latterly moved into salad cropping. Over the years, he had grown daffodils, strawberries and even ran a farm shop.

Although he lived at the Old Rectory, West Lexham, near Swaffham, for more than 30 years, he had moved to a new house adapted to help him cope with a rare degenerative condition, multiple system atrophy.

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He encouraged many young people to start in business, recognising how he had been helped in earlier days.

He supported many good causes and appeals and always insisted on maintaining a low profile. However, he did enjoy shooting and especially a good party. To mark his 60th birthday, he invited hundreds of guests and lit up the skies with one of the biggest private firework displays in the county for years.

Refusing any gifts, he urged guests to make charitable donations and more than �30,000 was raised for Parkinson's Disease.

He was also an associate director of Norwich City.

He leaves a widow, Pamela, three children, Amanda, Adam and Christopher and three grandchildren. A funeral has taken place.

Michael Pollitt

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