Esme Stimpson: Norfolk centenarian was tireless fundraiser

A fundraiser for the Royal British Legion for more than 40 years in central Norfolk, Esme Stimpson has died aged 100.

Always cheerful and enthusiastic, she was thrilled to be presented to the Duke of Gloucester, president of farming's charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, just a few days before her 100th birthday on May 3.

He was launching a �4.5m scheme to transform the charity's East Anglian residential home at Manson House, Bury St Edmunds.

Esme Stimpson, who was one of eight children, was born into a large farming family at Thurgarton Hall. She was just six when her father died, leaving her mother to run the farm.

Educated at Norwich High School, she started teaching in Derbyshire then helped her brother to establish a butcher's business in Ashbourne, before returning to Norfolk.

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At the Dormy House Hotel, Sheringham, she met her future husband George Stimpson, who farmed at Salle Moor Hall, Salle, and later at Church Farm, Great Witchingham.

It was a wartime romance and because he had been called up to serve in the Royal Artillery, she only knew for certain that he would be able to attend their wedding at Aylsham Church four days ahead of the ceremony. They were to have 67 years together.

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After the end of the second world war, her husband returned and in 1947, they moved to Church Farm.

A keen member of the parochial church council, she worked tirelessly for St Mary's Church and was also a collector for the Royal British Legion.

She retired as the branch's local treasurer and treasurer of the Wensum Diary, the monthly magazine for Great Witchingham, at the age of 93. After her husband's death in 2009, she moved to Manson House.

She leaves three daughters, Susan, Catherine and Gillie, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grand- children.

A funeral service will be held at St Peter and St Paul's Church, Salle, on Thursday, December 20 at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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