Tributes to seaside town's much-loved former mayor

<co pic for floods commemoration story, EDP Monday>Facing strong winds & driving snow, Fred Pooley,

Fred Pooley, former mayor of Hunstanton, stands alone on the beach in 2004 with his memories of 1953, when as a six year old he lost an aunt and three cousins in the tidal surge that hit the town. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press

Tributes have been paid to a "larger than life" character and former mayor of the seaside town he loved.

Fred Pooley passed away aged 74 at his home in Hunstanton after a short illness on Christmas Eve.

The Showman's Guild member was the well-known owner of rides at the town's fairground, including a pair of gallopers built by Savages of King's Lynn, in 1886 and the ghost train.

His wife of 48 years, Bessie-Lynne, 69, said: "He was just a character, everyone knew him, everyone had different ways of describing him.

"He was very passionate about Hunstanton, he was so pleased to be on  the council to represent Hunstanton, he really was."

Fred Pooley, mayor of Hunstanton, pauses to touch the names of his own relatives on the memorial,

Fred Pooley pictured during his spell as mayor of Hunstanton, as he pauses to touch the names of his own relatives on the town's flood memorial, after laying a wreath in memory of those who died in the 1953 floods - Credit: Eastern Daily Press

When tragedy came to the town in the 1953 floods, Mr Pooley lost four members of his family. His aunt Phyllis and her daughters Patricia, Jennifer and Susan were among the 31 who perished in the South Beach area of Hunstanton  on January 31, 1953

Their names are recorded on the memorial in the Esplanade Gardens.

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In a statement, the town council said: "Members and staff of Hunstanton Town Council are saddened to hear of the recent death of Mr Fred Pooley and would like to send their condolences to his family.

"Fred Pooley was a larger-than-life person, born and raised in Hunstanton until 1951 when, at the age of five, moved near to Wisbech with his mother Hilda.

"After marrying Bessie-Lynne Cook in 1974 he returned back home to Hunstanton where he made his home and built his business. He could often be found at Rainbow Park around the ghost train and gallopers, laughing and enjoying the company of others.

"He was a loving family man and was regularly seen around Hunstanton pushing his grandchildren in a pram when they were babies, an activity he really enjoyed as a proud grandfather.

"Fred was an active member of Hunstanton Town Council for several years and in May 2002 was elected chairman of the council and mayor of Hunstanton. A position he took great pride in, excelled in and was proud to be acknowledged as part of the community.

"Fred leaves his widow, two children, a son in law, daughter in law and three grandchildren, he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."

Mr Pooley's funeral will be held at Mintlyn, near King's Lynn on  Friday,  January, 21 (12:15pm).

Family flowers only have been requested. Donations may be made to the National Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Children via tinyurl.com/4ywp389u.

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