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Tributes to community champion who helped save Diss Corn Hall

PUBLISHED: 16:09 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 18 April 2019

Diss community stalwart Glyn Walden, who has died aged 76, achieved the rare honours of being an honorary alderman of both Diss and South Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

Diss community stalwart Glyn Walden, who has died aged 76, achieved the rare honours of being an honorary alderman of both Diss and South Norfolk. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Tributes have been paid to a Norfolk community stalwart whose achievements were as diverse as helping save Diss Corn Hall and writing an anti-bullying children's books.

A former head teacher Glyn Walden was insired to write his children's book series by his grandson. Picture: Angela SharpeA former head teacher Glyn Walden was insired to write his children's book series by his grandson. Picture: Angela Sharpe

Glyn Walden, who gained the rare honour of being appointed an alderman of both Diss and South Norfolk councils in recognition of his tireless championing of the town and district, has died aged 76.

Flags at Diss Corn Hall and at South Norfolk Council offices in Long Stratton have been flown at half mast as a mark of respect.

Mr Walden was offered the title of honorary alderman for Diss in 2012, following 20 years of service on the town council, including to two stints as mayor, while as chairman of the Diss Corn Hall Trust he is credited as the driving force behind its rejuvenation as an arts venue.

Glyn Walden, who has died aged 76, receiving his honorary alderman certificate in 2012 from then Diss Mayor Graham Minshull. Picture: Deborah SarsonGlyn Walden, who has died aged 76, receiving his honorary alderman certificate in 2012 from then Diss Mayor Graham Minshull. Picture: Deborah Sarson

District councillor Graham Minshull, who presented Mr Walden with his alderman certificate while himself serving as Diss Mayor, said: “Diss has got an awful lot to be thankful to Glyn for. Without him we wouldn't have the Corn Hall. At the time it was in a very bad state and we were looking at about a £1m worth of repairs just to mothball it. He came along and said he had got this idea to form a trust and to get the money to completely renovate it.

“When I joined the council he was my mentor who guided me through. He has an incredibly hard worker and a real stalwart of the town. He was a hugely respected character and will be sorely missed.”

Former Diss Mayor Mike Bardwell said: “Glyn was such a help to me when I became a councillor. His knowledge, experience and passion for Diss was immense, without his vision who knows what the Corn Hall would be now, it is perhaps his best legacy.”

The Diss Town Council flag flying half-mast over the Corn Hall in honour of Glyn Walden, who is credited with helping to save the building. Picture: Rob WaldenThe Diss Town Council flag flying half-mast over the Corn Hall in honour of Glyn Walden, who is credited with helping to save the building. Picture: Rob Walden

Mr Walden was also involved in music, playing in the band The Sideliners and promoting annual shows in Diss by The Searchers; and sport, through his work with Active Norfolk.

He also wrote a series of children's books, set in the Big Park, based on the park by Diss Mere, giving them away to charities, local schools and individuals. It saw him collaborating with sporting legend Dame Kelly Holmes on the writing of one titled Katy the Shooting Star. The Olympian visited Diss in 2008 to help launch the book.

A former head teacher at Tivetshall and Methwold primary schools, where MP Chloe Smith was one of his former pupils, he was elected to the district council in 2007. He was unable to stand for re-election in 2015 due to ill health, and since that time he suffered a series of strokes.

Glyn Walden with Frank Allen (left) and John McNally (right) of The Searchers at the Corn Hall. Mr Walden organised numerous music concerts and events in aid of The British Heart Foundation and other local charities. Picture: Rob WaldenGlyn Walden with Frank Allen (left) and John McNally (right) of The Searchers at the Corn Hall. Mr Walden organised numerous music concerts and events in aid of The British Heart Foundation and other local charities. Picture: Rob Walden

Mr Walden died peacefully at his home in Roydon with his family at his side. He is survived by Carole, his wife of 49 years, and two sons.

• There will be a Thanksgiving service for Mr Walden at St Mary's Church, Diss, on Tuesday 23 April at 1pm. The family would like to welcome people who wish to pay their respects.

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