More than 100 people turn out to pay tribute to Mr Norwich in Bloom
- Credit: Bill Smith - Archant
Family, friends and civic leaders gathered to pay their last respects to one of Norwich's great horticultural heroes.
Bill Webster - one of the key figures of the Friends Of Norwich In Bloom - died on October 9 aged 92 and a service to celebrate his life was held at Earlham Crematorium today.
There was standing room only in the chapel as Mr Webster's family - many wearing yellow sunflowers in tribute to him - were joined by Mr Webster's In Bloom colleagues as well as the Lord Mayor, Judith Lubbock, the Sheriff of Norwich, William Armstrong and his wife Monica, and many other people including former Lord Mayors and Sheriffs.
'Bill was a true Norwich man and dare I say an Earlham man too. He lived his life to the full right up to the end,' said the Rev Rosemary Houghton, who conducted the service.
She spoke of how Mr Webster would be remembered by many for his work with Friends Of Norwich In Bloom and his enthusiasm for gardening which inspired people of all ages.
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'He especially taught youngsters from City College Norwich that sowing and growing plants was a worthwhile job.
'You did not have to have the brains of Einstein to get on in the world. The world needed beauty.'
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She also spoke of how Mr Webster married his wife, Phyllis, in 1942 and how they lived in Earlham for most of their married life, becoming very much the backbone of the community.
Martin Webster, one of Mr Webster's sons, said his family was touched by how many people had attended the service and sent letters and cards.
'We did not realise how many friends and colleagues dad had,' he said.
'My father had a fantastic life and I think he achieved just about every goal he set out to do. A life's work well done.'
He described his father as a 'true patriarch of the family' and a 'star.'
'He was a lovely man. He was a great husband, married to my mother for 72 years...he was also a treasured father, grandfather and great grandfather.'
He said in retirement Mr Webster had found his two greatest loves after his wife, flowers and painting, and that his time with the Friends of Norwich in Bloom 'helped him achieve so much for his beloved Norwich.'
He said he would like to put forward two challenges in memory of his father, firstly for Mr Webster's family to carry on as they always do, celebrating the good times and standing united through the bad, and secondly for the Friends of Norwich in Bloom and Anglia in Bloom to continue with their great horticultural work.
'Billy would have wanted you to carry on your terrific work, making Norwich and all the towns, cities and villages in the Anglia region look blooming marvellous. God bless you Billy.' he said.
The service began with an instrumental version of The Power of Love by The Shadows and finished with The Way We Were by Shirley Bassey.
The hymns sung were Morning Has Broken and Now Thank We All Our God and there was a reading of The Way Of Love, 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13: verses 1-7.
Mr Webster leaves behind his wife Phyllis, sons Michael and Martin, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
•Donations to Friends Of Norwich In Bloom can be made in memory of Mr Webster c/o Gordon Barber Funeral Home, Church Lane, Eaton, NR4 6NZ.