Frank Seaman of Bintree Mill

Frank Seaman, known throughout Norfolk as a businessman, farmer and true country gentleman, has died at the age of 87.The Seaman name has been synonymous with agriculture since the turn of the 20th century through the family's corn milling and merchanting business which was based at the picturesque Bintree Mill, near Dereham.

Frank Seaman, known throughout Norfolk as a businessman, farmer and true country gentleman, has died at the age of 87.

The Seaman name has been synonymous with agriculture since the turn of the 20th century, through the family's corn-milling and merchanting business which was based at the picturesque Bintree Mill, near Dereham.

Mr Seaman was the third generation to live there, born on June 15, 1919, and joined RJ Seaman & Sons straight after leaving Fakenham Grammar School.

His dedication to the business was only interrupted by the second world war, when he served with the 9th Battalion, the Indian Army and then the Gurkha Rifles, where he became a major in Burma until he was demobbed in 1946.


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From his return to Bintree, he became immensely respected and made friends far and wide throughout the farming community, including Bernard Matthews, whom he helped to establish by providing some financial backing in the turkey giant's early years.

He married Barbara in 1947 and had three children - Felicity, John (deceased) and Jeremy - and continued to grow the business as well as the farm, rearing cattle and working the land.

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When he was not working he would often take to the river bank, fishing being a skill he learned in his early days growing up by the river at the mill.

He was heavily involved with the Salmon and Trout Association and set up half a dozen fisheries in Norfolk with close friend Leo Temple Richards. In recognition of his work, he was awarded honorary membership of the association as well as honorary life membership of Roosting Hills Fisheries in Norfolk.

He will also be remembered as former chairman of the Fakenham branch of the Round Table, chairman of the Bintree and Twyford Parish Council, church warden of Twyford Church and president of the Norfolk district of the Royal British Legion.

Mr Seaman was also a keen shot, and enjoyed cricket and bowls.

He retired from work in 1984 but the milling business had already been taken over by British Field Products. His nephew, Paul Seaman, still runs the farm around Bintree Mill.

His daughter, Felicity, said: "Wherever he went people wanted to shake his hand. If they did not know him, they knew of him and he epitomised the traditional Norfolk country gentleman. He was tall and handsome and people noticed him when he walked into a room."

Friends also described Mr Seaman as a "sincere, loyal friend".

A thanksgiving service will be held on Friday, April 20, at Twyford Church at 3.30pm.

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