December 10 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Tributes have poured in for one of Norwich’s most influential servicemen, praised for his sterling efforts in the campaign to revitalise the city’s war memorial.
War hero Raymond Self, known locally as Ray, died aged 87 on Monday following a two-year battle with cancer, and today people have been paying tribute to the man described as “one of a kind”.
During the second world war Mr Self, of Ipswich Road, served in the navy and was involved in the Normandy landings.
He was based at Singapore when it fell to the Allies and showed immense bravery following the surrendering of the Japanese when he rescued his cousin, Ivor Self, from one of the country’s prison camps, carrying him away as he was too weak to walk.
And the ship on which Mr Self sailed also picked up an SOS call from a boat on fire off the coast of Sumatra, and together with his crew, he saved the lives of more than 1,000 men in a two-day operation.
But locally it is on the city centre’s landscape Mr Self made his biggest impact, acting as the key figurehead in the revitalisation of the new war memorial.
Its long-awaited £2.6m refurbishment began in September 2009 and the memorial was finally unveiled in 2010 after the revamp work.
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens it was turned around to face City Hall, following a campaign by Mr Self and other veterans who wanted to salute to it as they parade past.
Steve Morphew, former leader of the city council, worked with Mr Self on the project and described him as “passionate, patient and polite”.
He said: “He was a really good advocate for the war memorial and everything it stands for. He was the kind of man we were proud to have as part of the civic society of this city.”
And “shipmate” Keith Smith, secretary of the Norwich Branch of the Royal Naval Association (RNA), praised the founder and life member of the branch. He said: “He represented the Royal Naval Association at virtually all events through Norfolk. We could not have wished for a finer representative and his humour and demeanour was a fine example to us all.
“He will be remembered by all who knew him as a fine, upstanding man - he was one of a kind.”
• A funeral service will be held at St Faiths Crematorium on Thursday 29 August at 3.30pm.