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'That part of the beach will feel empty now' - Tributes paid to Yarmouth deckchair legend

PUBLISHED: 10:21 16 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 16 April 2019

Dusty Miller who celebrates his 80th birthday this week and celebrating almost 60 years on the beach in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass

Dusty Miller who celebrates his 80th birthday this week and celebrating almost 60 years on the beach in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2013

Tributes have been paid to one of Great Yarmouth's "finest characters" and "good old boys" - renowned for having the best sun-tan in the town.

Yarmouth 'deckchair man' Dusty Miller,84, enjoying the hot April weather.
Picture: Nick ButcherYarmouth 'deckchair man' Dusty Miller,84, enjoying the hot April weather. Picture: Nick Butcher

Nut brown and as laid back as the loungers he hired out on the town's famous sands Dusty Miller, known as 'the deckchair man' has died aged 85.

Announcing his death his nephew Tony Miller described him as “a great man and a figure many looked up to.”

He said: “That part of the beach will feel empty now.”

Mr Miller had been renting deckchairs and windbreaks to sunseekers for some 63 years, swimming off the beach three times a day every day in the summer.

Yarmouth 'deckchair man' Dusty Miller,84, enjoying the hot April weather.
Picture: Nick ButcherYarmouth 'deckchair man' Dusty Miller,84, enjoying the hot April weather. Picture: Nick Butcher

His daughter Debbie Roscoe said he was down on the beach all last summer despite being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and dementia.

Losing his wife of 60 years June, had also been a blow, she said adding: “It was our one wish that we got him through the summer.”

“He absolutely loved it, that is why he was there for so long.

“I do not think the beach will ever be the same.”

Dusty Miller who celebrates his 80th birthday this week and celebrating almost 60 years on the beach in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James BassDusty Miller who celebrates his 80th birthday this week and celebrating almost 60 years on the beach in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

The father-of-three, speaking about his life on the Golden Mile on his 80th birthday, said he enjoyed being outdoors whatever the weather and had loved the way of life.

Albert Jones, owner of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, described Mr Miller's death as “a tragedy.”

He said: “He used to have the deckchairs down by the Pleasure Beach round near the log flume. He had marvellous sun tan and I always picture him in his shorts and sandals with his money bag.

“He was a character and they are not about like they used to be. He would stop and have a chat with anybody, he was Yarmouth through and through.”

Paying tribute to him on Facebook Debs Kerr said: “So many fond memories of Dusty when we were kids playing on the beach and being a family friend. “The town has lost one of the kindest characters going.

“I'm going to sit in my old deckchair and raise a cheeky toast to you Dusty.”

Julliet Perry said: “Lovely man Dusty, the man with a tan and a big smile and always asked how you were doing.

“A true gent and will always be part of Yarmouth's history.”

Others described him as “a real character”, “a proper Yarmouth man,” and “a legend of the seafront.”

Mr Miller, whose real name was Leslie, told this newspaper how he started the deckchairs in 1956 when he came back from the Navy.

He said as one of eight children he was brought up on the beach and loved the freedom.

He leaves three children Paul, Debbie, and John, grandchildren Lewis, Lee, Hayley, Gavin and Daniel and great grandchildren Riley, Mason, Nancy, Jasper and Bertie - as well as a large circle of friends from the holiday and tourism fraternity.

He died on April 9, a year after his diagnosis, and will be buried with his trademark swimming trunks and deckchair canvas.

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