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Tributes paid to popular Happisburgh church Lay Minister Raymond Sanders

PUBLISHED: 15:03 04 June 2017

Raymond Sanders in July 2016. Picture: MAURICE GRAY

Raymond Sanders in July 2016. Picture: MAURICE GRAY

Maurice Gray.

A popular Lay Minister who has been serving for more than 60 years has died at the age of 89.

Raymond Sanders, second left, with the Bishop of Norwich The Rt Revd Graham James and Catherine Dobson, vicar of the Coastal group of parishes, first left, and Curate Eiler Mellerup. Picture: MAURICE GRAYRaymond Sanders, second left, with the Bishop of Norwich The Rt Revd Graham James and Catherine Dobson, vicar of the Coastal group of parishes, first left, and Curate Eiler Mellerup. Picture: MAURICE GRAY

Raymond Sanders has lived and preached for many years and loved the village life at Happisburgh, regularly serving at the local St Mary’s church.

He was greatly respected by the community for his loyalty and support. He died peacefully at home with his wife, Margaret, at his side on May 19.

Mr Sanders was born in 1927 at St Giles, in Norwich and joined the choir, at St Mary’s, Earlham, in Norwich, aged eight.

After leaving school at 14, he got a job and trained as an electrical engineer with Eastern Electricity. In 1945, aged 18, he was called-up to join the Navy as an electrician.

Raymond and Margaret Sanders in 2016. Picture: MAURICE GRAYRaymond and Margaret Sanders in 2016. Picture: MAURICE GRAY

He married his wife, Margaret, in 1952 and was then a regular church-goer.

They had two boys, Mark and Paul, who eventually studied at Oxford, followed with careers in teaching and accountancy.

Mr Sanders had four granddaughters - Dorothy, Ella, Zoe and Millie.

For the last few years, Mr Sanders was suffering from prostate cancer but insisted enjoying life to the full, stating often: “It can be done.”

Last year he was nominated to receive the Queen’s Maundy Money by the Diocese, the Regional Church of England Authority and the Royal Maundy Service.

Her Majesty the Queen has distributed Maundy Money to selected people, related to the Sovereign’s age and celebration of her 90th birthday last year. Mr and Mrs Sanders were invited to receive a gift of Maundy Silver Coins at Windsor Castle.

Mr Sanders and his son, Mark, with one of his granddaughters flew over Norwich city in an air balloon - which he thoroughly enjoyed - last August, saying: “It was like looking down on my life.”

Last July, the Bishop of Norwich The Rt Revd Graham James visited All Saints Church, Walcott - a neighbour of Happisburgh - to honour Mr Sanders for his devoted ‘readings’ of 60 years.

A packed congregation celebrated with a glass of bubbly and a piece of cake after the service. On that day, Mr Sanders said he was enjoying his life with his devoted wife Margaret and family.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Mary’s church, Happisburgh at 2.30pm on Wednesday, June 7.

Family flowers only but donations for St Mary’ church Happisburgh may be given at the service or sent to Murrell Cork Funerals, 57A Mundesley Road, North Walsham, NR28 0DB.

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