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'He always put others before himself' - tributes to Taverham Nursery Centre owner who has died

PUBLISHED: 15:57 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 24 January 2019

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Drane Family

A Norfolk businessman who will be remembered for both his determination to never let an opportunity pass and his generosity has died aged 90.

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Roy Drane was already a successful business owner when, in 1970, he and his business partner Ken Dye decided to buy 30 acres of land in Taverham.

Little did he know the purchase would lead to the creation of Taverham Nursery Centre, one of the largest, most successful garden centres in Norfolk.

His children Mark Drane and Karen Drane-Steel, who now manages Taverham Nursery Centre with her husband Matthew, said her father, who also formed Norwich Sheet Metal Works in 1966, would be sorely missed.

They said: “He was an amazing, wonderful man and he was such a kind and generous person. He helped a lot of other people who wanted to start up in business. He was kind and thoughtful and always put others before himself.

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“He was absolutely driven, he just always had this vision he really didn’t sit still he was always looking for the next opportunity and never let it pass him by.”

Mrs Drane-Steel said that her father, who after leaving school completed his national service as an RAF aircraft mechanic, created many wonderful childhood memories, including the time he unexpectedly bought a pony from an auction.

She said: “As a dad he was the best dad you could have had. He was fun, we would do lots of funs things when we were little. He always had this thing where he would go out and go to auctions and buy things. One day he bought a pony, but what he didn’t realise was the pony was in foal, until the farmer phoned up and told us.

“He was the go-to [for our family], he was the rock, he was my rock, I had this very close relationship with him but I’m just proud to carry on the business. I just feel really lucky that [we] had a fantastic childhood and a father that totally provided for us, we had so much fun.”

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Mr Drane died at his home in Lenwade on January 8, 2019. He is survived by his wife June, who he married in 1953, son Mark, daughter Karen, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Mr Drane’s funeral will be held at 2.30pm on Thursday, January 31, in St Mary’s Church, Great Witchingham. As a mark of respect and to enable staff to attend the funeral Taverham Nursery Centre will be closed from 1.30pm.

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