Patrick Edge, OBE, DSC Campaigner for disabled and good eating in Norfolk

A campaigner for the disabled, Norfolk businessman and decorated naval officer Patrick Edge, has died peacefully aged 96 at his Channel Island home.

He built up a regional chain of restaurants and revitalised one of the most famous eating houses and licensed premises in Norfolk, Whites of Norwich, in the early 1960s.

After investing close to �20,000 in 1961, as the EDP reported in April 1962: 'Whites of Queen Street Open Gay New Bar and Grill.'

It was a huge success as about 7,000 customers a week passed through its doors and the Chalet Bar, decorated with the authentic charm of a Swiss mountain setting, even featured a genuine Alpine horn.

And in 1969, after a 16,000-mile trip across the USA, Mr Edge, introduced to Norwich 'all you can eat for 10/6d' or 53p in a new eating house, Oliver's over Boswells in Tombland.

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Patrick Noel Greer Edge was born into two well-known Norfolk business families. He was three months old when his father died and 10 when his mother died.

He went to school at Epsom, Surrey, and then started work at Boulton & Paul, then run by his managing director grandfather, Henry ffiske. His mother, Amy, also had a family connection with the long-established business.

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He had met his future wife, Barbara, who was a daughter of Yarmouth-based Walter Purdy, later of Purdy Taverns, while a teenager. Their wedding took place on June 2, 1938, and they were married for more than 65 years. She died just two days before her 90th birthday.

He had joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve before the outbreak of hostilities. In the war's biggest E-boat battle off the Norfolk coast, Lt Cmdr Edge, who commanded two motor gunboats, was one of four officers awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in February 1944. In the five-hour-long action near Smith's Knoll, four of the 30 enemy craft attacking a convoy off Cromer in October 1943 were sunk and seven others damaged.

He was twice mentioned in dispatches in 1942 for other North Sea actions and again in November 1944 for his role in Admiral Philip Vian's flagship, HMS Scylla, in the D-Day Normandy Landings.

After the war, he became heavily involved with working for disabled people, serving on a range of disablement advisory committees in East Norfolk.

In February 1963, he was presented with the OBE by the Queen Mother at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

He was also a longstanding member of the Norwich Board of Diocesan Finance and the diocese's Christian stewardship campaign.

A keen supporter of the Royal British Legion, he held various posts including chairman of the Caister branch and also at Beccles, where he lived for many years in Northgate.

He moved to Guernsey about 25 years ago, where he died on Tuesday, January 4.

A funeral will be held on the island on Tuesday, January 11, at 11am.

Michael Pollitt

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