Peter Henry Starling

A vintage motorbike enthusiast and pewter specialist with a national reputation and a former local councillor, Peter Starling, has died aged 88.

A vintage motorbike enthusiast and pewter specialist with a national reputation and a former local councillor, Peter Starling, has died aged 88.

He was heavily involved in public life in south Norfolk serving as a district councillor for 19 years from his Stoke Holy Cross home.

Educated at Norwich School, he was born and brought up in the city. As war loomed in early 1939, 20-year-old Mr Starling, with a group of colleagues from Norwich Union, joined the Norfolk Yeomantry, part of the terrorial army. They were immediately called up on the outbrak of war.

Sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force, he survived Dunkirk. Then, he was involved in the North Africa campaign including action at El Alamein and the bitter fighting at Cassino in Italy.


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He was a keen supporter of the British Legion, Dunkirk Veterans and the Norfolk Yeomanry Association.

When he was “de-mobbed,” he returned home to Stoke Holy Cross where he married a sister of a childhood friend, Nancy, who had been his forces' pen-pal.

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His public service included 12 years as the chairman of his parish council, 19 years as a district councillor and serving as chairman. He was also a governor of Framingham Earl School and a founder member of the Tas Valley Conservation Society.

Fascinated by steam lorries and electric trams, it gave him a life-long interest in matters mechanical. He was a founder member of the Norfolk Railway Society and a member of the East Anglia Transport Museum Society.

He rode thousands of miles on his 1929 Rudge motorcycle and sidecar, of which he was only the second owner and also owned many other pre-war machines that had been given a new lease of life from scattered and worn parts. He also wrote childhood recollections of Norwich and his motorcycling memoirs from the 1930s to the 1980s.

He collected antique pewter and had the skill to repair it, which is as testing technical skill because of the very low melting point.

He repaired many pieces of Norfolk church pewter, and was former president of the Pewter Society and a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers.

A memorial service has taken place. He leaves a widow, a son, two daughters, and five grandchildren.

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