Tributes to a champion of the Norwich business community and lifelong Canaries fan
- Credit: Santos Photography
Tributes have been paid to a true champion of the Norwich business community who was a lifelong Canaries fan and one of Norwich City Football Club's associate directors.
Paul Rudd, who founded the business networking group Norwich Kitty, died suddenly on April 5 aged 48.
His daughter Melissa Rudd described him as a larger than life character who touched so many people's lives.
She said: 'He was the definition of a larger than life character - warm, humorous and never without a smile on his face, except perhaps after a particularly poor Norwich City performance. We would always joke that you couldn't walk down a street in Norwich without Dad bumping into someone he knew, he touched so many people's lives. Above all else he loved his family so dearly and he will be missed and remembered every day.'
Norwich City Football Club has said there are plans for a tribute to Mr Rudd in the match programme for the final home game of the season against Leeds United on April 28.
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Joe Ferrari, director of communications at NCFC, said: 'Paul was an active member of our Associate Directors Group and had been for many years. 'He was a massive Norwich fan and was passionate about the Canaries and never afraid to share his views with us at the club and with fellow supporters. Our thoughts our with Paul's family.'
Mr Rudd, from Badersfield and who worked as a paraplanner for Norwich-based Tailored Solutions, played a key role in Norwich's business community and founded the weekly networking group Norwich Kitty in September 2011 with the aim of bringing together local businesses in a more relaxed environment.
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Over the last seven years Mr Rudd brought together more that 20 businesses every week at various city centre pubs, and Last Thursday the Norwich Kitty group held a special tribute night in his memory at the Coach and Horses pub in Bethel Street.
In tribute to Mr Rudd, the friends of Norwich Kitty said: 'Paul was a highly respected person in the local networking business world, and testament to this was the turnout at the special Kitty evening held as a tribute last Thursday evening, when over 60 people attended to pay their respects and dozens more sending messages of condolences that couldn't attend.
'He was a man that always entered the room with a beaming smile and the ability to make everyone feel at ease. He has helped countless people starting out with a new business make connections with like-minded people and his kindness and generosity was felt by many. He has left a gap in the hearts of his friends and colleagues that can never be filled, his friendship and humour will be sorely missed as a friend and a networking guru.
'His partners and friends within the networking group will continue the Kitty legacy in his honour.'
Mr Rudd is survived by his daughter Melissa, partner Amanda and siblings Nichola and Mark.
At last Thursday's Norwich Kitty meeting, friend and colleague Ian Tibbitt read out the following poem he had written in tribute to Mr Rudd:
I know that Paul would want a rhyme
So just for you mate, one last time
We've worked together almost every day
We'd talk, we'd sing we'd laugh, I'd say
So City at the weekend, what did you think?
Usual crap mate, we totally stink
On Thursday we lost you, no rhyme nor reason
Then City play their best game of the season!
Everything seems to remind me of you
Football, music, my bloody shoe!
Since you've been gone life's a bit more grey
And I miss you mate more than words can say