People of Norwich pay their own tributes to Marigold
- Credit: Archant
He was a much-loved eccentric, renowned for directing traffic in Norwich while wearing rubber gloves, and people across Norwich have spoken of their sadness – and fond memories – after it emerged Marigold had died.
Marigold, whose real name was Alvin Braithwaite, was a friendly, much-loved figure in the city, who lived in St Martin's House, Westwick Street, for many years. But he disappeared from his regular haunts in the mid 1990s and spent his later life in a care home in Thetford.
Rumours of his death had circulated in the past, prompting Mr Braithwaite to make statements to confirm his wellbeing, but one of his three daughters confirmed his death last week.
He had just turned 74.
News of Mr Braithwaite's death has sparked widespread sadness across the city with dozens of people having contacted the Evening News to pay tribute to and remember him.
Gracia Travis, who said: 'Marigold was a lovely sunny character who always brought a smile to my face as he stood directing the traffic in his famous rubber gloves. One of Norwich's great and loveable eccentrics.'
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Melanie Horstink, who grew up in Norwich but now lives in Holland, said she would light a candle in his memory and hang a pair of Mariogolds 'which to this day make me smile as they remind me of such a wonderful character of Norwich'.
Bernard Watts, who recalled seeing him while driving in from Coltishall to Norwich City College in the 1970s, said: 'We would pass Marigold at the Grapes Hill junction most mornings and evenings. He'd always get a cheer from the rabble in the car and give us an eccentric wave in return.
We would sometimes see him in the city centre at weekends, when we were on the way to the football, and buy him a drink. Fondly remembered images of my youth.'
Jeremy Dearling, who worked at HMSO in the city and regularly saw Marigold, said: 'Rest in Peace Marigold. Would that others could be as happy and uninhibited as you had the courage to be.'
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More tributes to Marigold
• Shirley Webb: 'Alvin must have done so much to dispel myths about mental illness. It was always a pleasant and uplifting experience to have a conversation with him when he lived in Norwich.'
• Skinny Lau: 'My heart goes to the family. He's going to be miss in our lifes as well in theirs.'
• Jayne Hilton: 'I remember this lovely man, always made me smile. In a mad world he brought smiles,may he rest in peace.'
• Michelle Carberry: 'So sad to hear this news, Marigold always brought a smile to my face.'
• Scania: 'Marigold: Legend of the inner ring road.'
• Maggot: 'Such a kind and gentle man RIP Marigold you will be sadly missed but always remembered with a smile.'
• Marciaann: 'Ahhhhhh bless hm,I remember him well,always had a smile for me as I did him RIP Marigold, you are missed.'
• Kerryowner: 'I remember him when I used to work at the main Post Office on Bank Plain in Norwich. He used to come in and sit in the photo booth singing-he was a great character.'
• Samphirelover: 'Real Norfolk character who will be sadly missed. My kids used to love waving to him.'
• Whiley Boy: 'Such a great character that this kind gentleman had, putting the smiles on the faces on many motorists. RIP Marigold, you have been missed for a number of years already, but now doubly so. With sympathy to your family and friends.'
• Paul Wilson: 'I remember back in the early 1990s, stationed at RAF Coltishall and being in charge of the flight line at the time, the lads on the flight line used marigold gloves instead of the normal marshaling wands as a gesture to Marigold who was seen daily on the roundabout by many RAF personnel travelling to work, he was often in the local papers at the time.'
• Tony: 'I worked at May and Baker (also known as Rhone Poulenc) on Sweet Briar Road for around 25 years and many were the times on my way to work or on the way home in the evening quite often feeling quite dejected, that I would see Marigold 'directing the traffic' and straight away he brought a big grin to my face cheering me up immediately.'
• John Stoker senior: 'One of the first things I remember when I moved to Norwich was seeing marigold directing the Traffic with his cheery smile. He was a great character and so friendly. I have told many people across the UK about him.'
• Nigel Steggles: 'What a great character he was.'
• The Francis family from New Costessey: 'Our family have always had fond memories of Marigold whilst growing up around Norwich, it's sad to hear of his passing and we send our condolences to his family. Norwich has lost an iconic legend!'
• Daniel Simpson: 'I became 40 recently but I still have a very vivid memory of seeing Marigold directing traffic when I was a child at the bottom of Grapes Hill with those infamous gloves! He always generated a giggle and he'll be sadly missed.'
• Rodney Brock: 'Going up the city or to see mother was always via by the old city station and Barn Road to Grapes Hill where I was brought up, hoping to see Marigold to give him a wave and a pip of the horn. How disappointed we would be if he was not in his usual spot and we would wonder, was he unwell or was it to cold and wet, but he would always be there next time with his wonderfully smiling welcome.'
• David Fowler: 'Norwich 'a Fine City' has lost a Fine Character in Alvin Braithwaite aka as Marigold. It was well known that he may have had his own problems but I always went on my way past him with a feeling that he had made me more cheerful on my way.
'He was often mentioned with my work colleagues and everyone without exception even though they had not spoken to him always had a good word to say about him. He is a joy to remember and will never be forgotten.'
• Wendy Randall and family: 'R.I.P, my lovely you will always be a part of Norwich.'
• Ivan Sharp: 'I started spending more and more time in Norwich, at the end of 1990 and finally made the move and moved to unthank road in the spring of 1991 and one of the first sights I remember was seeing Marigold directing the traffic and the response from others, driving past would give a little toot, wave or both. if we had friends up we would sometimes detour to see if we could find him and he would put smiles on faces when the weather was dull, the traffic was heavy or just having a bad day.'