May 24 2013 Latest news:
By Sam Russell
Sunday, July 29, 2012
When a mystery benefactor left them a legacy of more than half a million pounds, Caister lifeboatmen said they were stunned.
But the story of London pensioner Ethel Crouther’s donation in memory of her friend Fred Dyble can now be told after Mr Dyble’s family contacted the EDP.
Mr Dyble’s younger sister Pauline Kettle, 82, explained that he was a long-shore fisherman and a builder who was well-known in California, Norfolk.
He built many of the bungalows in the village, helped people with odd jobs and was known as a true ‘Cali’.
Wealthy Mrs Crouther lived in Ilford, London, but was the owner of several holiday homes and pubs around Norfolk – including a home in California.
Mr Dyble would look after Mrs Crouther’s home in California while she was in London and did building work for her.
The pair developed a friendship spanning decades, and after Mr Dyble died in 1996, aged 68, Mrs Crouther had hoped to have the Caister Volunteer Lifeboat named after him.
She sold one of her homes in West Caister for £140,000, but the volunteer service received a larger donation from Bernard Matthews, so the current vessel was named after the turkey producer.
A widow who was survived by no immediate family, Mrs Crouther had left £525,000 to the service when she died in July 2010 aged 89.
And Mr Dyble’s relatives say they hope the touching gesture will mean the service’s next lifeboat is named after their brother.
Mrs Kettle said: “Fred was good to everybody and was the heart of the village. We thought Mrs Crouther might do this but it was a real surprise when we found out and it’s exciting. If Fred knew this was going to happen he would be thrilled.” Mrs Kettle still lives in California Crescent, California – where her brother and Mrs Crouther also had homes.
Mr Dyble still has brothers living in Norwich and Ormesby, and a sister in Reading, Berkshire.