Tribute to Norman Thomas Razey

  |  Published: Jul 7th 2014

Norman was born in St. Thomas’ Hospital Lambeth after his mother was rushed from Wendover through ill health. So he was an honorary “Cockney” having been born within the sound of “Bow Bells”! He grew up in Wendover, firstly in Aylesbury Street moving to Pound Street with his mother, after his father, a postman, tragically died as a result of being gassed in WW1; Norman was only 7 at the time this being 1935. Three years later his mother was taken from him as well, so by the age of 10 he had endured losing both parents.

Norman always thought he was lucky that all his family rallied round to help raise him, his grandparents becoming his guardians. He continued to live in Pound Street two doors up. His granddad was a Foreman Plate Layer on the railways and he would accompany him in the early mornings before school to walk “his length” and to check the track, sometimes picking wild raspberries and blackberries.

After attending Wendover CofE School, near the Clock Tower, he left at 14 to start as an apprentice joiner/carpenter at Frank Woods, becoming a highly skilled craftsman that would serve him well throughout his life. At 18 he also became a retained fireman for the village. He used to have an allotment above the station bridge where he kept chickens. During WW2 he “ran the gauntlet” with a sack of grain for his hens hoping the local constable would not enquire about where the said sack came from, due to rationing, so as not to get the local farmer into trouble. Norman had bought it legitimately but maybe the farmer should not have sold it!

One of his hobbies was Rifle Shooting which he did at the rear of Mr Fred Hibberd’s garage in Back St. He won several trophies over the years. Another hobby he enjoyed was Bell Ringing at St. Mary’s, and again he would travel round the county. By the end of 1949 having now lost his grandparents he asked Lord of the Manor if he could stay living in the cottage. This was allowed but his rent was increased from 7/6 to . . . £1. He deemed this acceptable.

He had known Muriel since school being great friends with her brother Eric. They started dating in 1950 and she recalls that on their first date they went to the pictures but on the way home his car ran out of petrol. All went well and by April they were engaged, marrying on 23 September at St Mary’s where they had a guard of honour by local firemen brandishing axes! Norman joined the fire service full time and in 1952 he was at training school in Finchley when Nicholas was born. Philip was born in 1958. Norman was stationed at Aylesbury throughout his career. In 1965 he became a Leading Fireman. His experience was invaluable to many new recruits over the years, often giving up his own time to help others. In 1976 he was transferred to the Training Department. By 1978 he retired from Operational Service and was then offered a position in the Brigade Headquarters Control Room answering emergency calls. He enjoyed this very much and retired completely in 1989 at the age of 61.

Norman served on Wendover Parish Council for nearly 9 years, and was a great asset due to his vast knowledge of the village and surrounding area. Norman and Muriel spent a happy retirement together and moved to Mudeford, Christchurch, Dorset where he and Muriel both enjoyed walking by the sea and watching the world go by. Norman died peacefully at home after a short illness.  Norman was the most generous, caring, compassionate and overall lovely man and a true gentleman, who will be greatly missed by his family, friends and all those who had known him.

Born 5 July 1928 died 17 April 2014

 

 

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