Mike Quinton: Norwich businessman and sportsman had 50-year link with city charity

Mike Quinton, chairman of Town Close Estate Charity

Mike Quinton, chairman of Town Close Estate Charity - Credit: submitted

For half a century, Norwich businessman Mike Quinton, who has died peacefully at his home aged 86, was involved with one of the city's biggest charities.

He was also chairman of Norwich Freeman's committee in March 2010 when the hereditary honour was finally awarded to 212 women - ending a 800-year tradition.

It had taken years of campaigning for women to enjoy the same Freedom as men but Parliament formally changed the law that January. Mr Quinton, who had been chairman of Norwich Freemen for about 15 years, said: 'I'm proud and pleased to be associated with his historic occasion.'

And his daughter, Catherine, was finally able to enjoy the same right as her older brother, Stephen. He had traced the family's links with the honour back to the 1700s, when a tailor in St Giles became a Freeman.

He was chairman of the Town Close Estate Charity, which gave hundreds of thousands of pounds to groups and bodies in Norwich, for about 15 years.

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And he had been a trustee of the charity, which was formed in 1892, for about 50 years.

Born in Avenue Road, Norwich, Michael Grand Quinton, was the oldest of three children. After Avenue School, he went to Norwich School and then did his National Service in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

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He read geography at St Catherine's College, Cambridge, and in 1951 he became one of the first graduate management trainees at Norwich shoe group, Norvic. After almost a quarter of a century in January 1974, he was appointed a director of Norvic Shoe Co but resigned in August the following year to join Bally Shoes.

He was a long-serving chairman of the Norwich & District Citizens Advice Bureau defending the charity in 1999 when it had to reduce spending as it lost grant income. He was still joint chairman of Eaton Park Community Centre.

In the past 20 years, he devoted much of his energy to the Norwich Reformed Church, of which he was a founder member and also administrator for many years.

While he was well-known in the city's commercial and business circles, he was an enthusiastic sportsman. He was president of Norwich Exiles Hockey Club in 1971 and also a past president of the Norfolk County Hockey Association. For more than 25 years, he had been secretary to the Eastern Counties Hockey Association.

A keen golf player, he had started playing as a junior. With his father, he used at to play on the city of Norwich's Earlham course before the University of East Anglia was established. On one occasion, he was thrown off the course because he had broken the corporation's rules by playing a three-some.

For more than 60 years, he played at Eaton and was probably the club's oldest playing member. He was elected a captain and club president.

For many years, he was treasurer of the Shoe Trade Golfing Society, which held invitation events and matches for members across the country. And until last year, he was still organising the society's matches at Sheringham.

He was playing golf at least twice a week until two years ago when he collapsed on the course. Although he had latterly been confined to a wheelchair, he remained active as possible until his health declined several weeks ago.

His younger brother, John, who was a former chairman of Barclays Bank, died last year.

Married for 53 years, he leaves a widow, Rosemary, two children, Stephen and Catherine, and seven grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at Norwich Central Baptist Church on Friday, March 1 at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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