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Page updated - 28 November 2008

 

Bill Norfolk

 

Bill Norfolk, affectionately known as ‘Bus Bill’ to the many hundreds he has transported over the years, was born within the sound of Bow Bells but as he and his wife Pam have been living in Great Cornard since their marriage at Long Melford Church in 1969 I think he can claim to be 'almost a native'. Bill and Pam have given a lifetime of service to the disabled, the elderly and people with learning difficulties over the years.

 

Bill joined the Red Cross as a cadet when he was 14 and became a full volunteer in Lavenham aged 16.

After his National Service in the Army Medical Corps Bill became a member of the Sudbury Red Cross and was a member for 25 years. Sadly the Sudbury Red Cross Unit is no longer operational.

 

Bill worked at Gainsborough Fabrics for 18 years until he was made redundant. Whilst working for a firm in Lindsey he saw an advertisement for a Welfare Ambulance Driver for Suffolk County Council, based in Sudbury. He applied, got the job and once again stayed for many years - Bill says it was not his best-paid job but he loved it.

 

Bill feels he has to mention he had 2 weeks paid holiday when he worked for Gainsborough Fabrics and as the Red Cross operated three holidays a year he had to take the third week without pay. However, when this was pointed out to the management they not only paid him for the extra week but also provided him with a lorry, free of charge, to take all medical equipment to the holiday destination.

Throughout this time Bill and Pam took all types of disabled people on holiday travelling to Jersey, Austria, Holland and Germany to name but a few.

 

During the course of my conversation with this truly dedicated couple I learned they had never had a holiday on their own until 2 years ago - always accompanying someone who needed their help but obviously finding great pleasure doing it.

 

One very interesting fact about Pam Norfolk is she was born in the maternity unit at Walnuttree Hospital. She laughs and says she was born in 'the work house' as it was once known. (How sad we now have no maternity unit locally and the population is much bigger.)

 

Bill's family have the licensing trade in their blood as his parents ran the 'Cock and Bell' at Melford from 1957-1961, then ran the '3-Ways Cafe' at Bures (now closed). His sister and her husband were the popular landlords of 'The Horn' in North Street - now 'North Street Tavern' - for several years.

 

After their marriage in 1969, they had two sons and now have a granddaughter. Bill and Pam set up P.H.A.B. for the Physically Handicapped Able Bodied. They were also involved with Dave Doughty in starting the local D.A.S.H. (Disabled and Self Help) that meets regularly at the Stevenson Centre.

 

To finish his driving career Bill drove the S.T.A.R.T. (Sudbury Town Area Rural Transport) bus for six years and once again was fully involved with caring. He and Pam used to help every Christmas at The Old School House, Wells Hall Road - Pam was employed there and she always volunteered to work Christmas morning with Bill going along to give his support and carve the turkey.

 

For 50 years Bill and his wife have served the less able in our community and for that we all owe them a debt of gratitude. Thanks Pam and Bill.

 

 

Interview by Doris Rowland (Cornard News) – 11 November 2008