Tributes paid to Norwich artist who was beaten up on Christmas Day 2010

Tributes have been paid to an artist who was unable to finish a mural he was painting depicting events in Norwich's past, after being attacked in his home.

Bill Ross was found bloodied and crawling in the snow after he was beaten up on Christmas Day 2010. His family said he never fully recovered and was unable to finish the mural that needed just half a dozen more pictures before it was complete. The painting stretched 240ft and followed the course of Norwich's medieval wall, depicting the city's gates.

He died from emphysema at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on April 18 and the funeral was at Earlham crematorium on May 22.

Mr Ross was beaten with a glass object and left with a broken chestbone after being attacked by a woman he had befriended. He was hospitalised for three months following the attack and was afraid to answer the door to his home near Dereham Road because of what happened.

His son Billy, 20, from Pottergate, Norwich, who starts a creative writing course at City College Norwich later this year, said: 'He was very much a free spirit. He would not let anyone stand in his way and he would do as he wanted. He loved all artistic outlets, such as writing, photography, especially painting. But he was also very much a family man and very selfless. He was a very kind man but had a wild streak and would go off on a tangent.'

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Mr Ross's former partner, Denise Brooker, added: 'He was just a total inspiration. He was very adventurous and gave me loads of confidence.' Mr Ross's niece Angela Greet said he vowed to finish his paintings of Norwich, but he was unable to. She added: 'I don't think he ever recovered from the attack on Christmas Day. He wanted so much to finish his paintings of Norwich. He had an interesting and colourful life. He was known as the fastest brush in the west, I believe.'

Born in 1928 in Wiltshire, Mr Ross, who had six children, spent 20 years serving in the Special Air Service in places like Palestine and Egypt, He started painting in his army days and went on to make a living painting Norfolk coastal resorts such as Hemsby. He also built giant dinosaurs.

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The woman who attacked Mr Ross was suffering from a mental illess and was made subject of a hospital order when she appeared before Norwich Crown Court.

Would you like to pay tribute to a loved one? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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