Fred Williams: Long-serving Norfolk traffic warden beat 400 applicants to get the job

Fred Williams

Fred Williams - Credit: Archant

One of the Norfolk's longest-serving traffic wardens, Fred Williams, who has died aged 81, beat off competition from 400 applicants to get the job.

He spent 25 years patrolling the town and villages in north Norfolk, cycling around Fakenham and later Wells as well as Cromer and Sheringham. The former special constable had applied for the job at Fakenham in 1967.

'I warned a lot of people at first. In those days they ignored all signs and there was not much traffic about,' he told the EDP when he retired in September 1992.

'I used to cycle everywhere and if anyone asked me a question, I could always provide them with an answer,' he added.

Frederick Percival Williams, who was born in Reading, Berkshire, was the youngest of seven. After his mother died, he was sent by Barnardo's to board with a family in Mileham, near Dereham, where he went to the village school. After working at a Dereham foundry, he joined British Railways, initially based at Peterborough, before he was transferred to North Elmham station.

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He married Jessie in 1954 and they lived at Whissonsett, where he became a special constable, later moving to Fakenham and then Pudding Norton before moving some years ago to a nursing home at Risby, near Bury St Edmunds, as his health further declined.

In a quarter of a century as a warden, Mr Williams used to help on a regular basis at the Walsingham shrines where large numbers of visitors arrived.

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In a private meeting at his retirement, he told the then chief constable, Peter Ryan, that another highlight had been a temporary posting to Great Yarmouth to assist during the Queen's visit in August 1985.

In retirement, he said that he would spend his time baking cakes. 'Christmas cakes are my speciality,' he added.

Married for 59 years, he leaves a widow, Jessie, and five daughters, 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He is survived by his oldest sister, Peggy, 92, who lives in Manchester.

In recognition of the kind reception given to him by villagers as a child, he will be buried in the churchyard yard at Mileham.

A funeral service will take place at St John the Baptist Church, Mileham, on Thursday, May 23 at 2.30pm followed by interment.

Michael Pollitt

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