How boxer and DJ lived life to the full after heart and lung transplant

 Peter Dickerson takes a look at he fish counter after opening the extended Asda superstore at Hellesdon

Norwich heart transplant man Peter Dickerson takes a look at he fish counter after opening the extended Asda superstore at Hellesdon. Also in picture are general manager John Veysey (R) and fish manager Edward Flynn (L). Date: 5 Oct 1987 - Credit: Archant Library

He lived for just 33 years but he will never be forgotten across Norwich and Norfolk…a kind, loveable and courageous gentleman.

His name?

Peter “Dicko” Dickerson.

Peter “Dicko” Dickerson

Peter “Dicko” Dickerson. Date: 8 Aug 1991 - Credit: Archant Library

Let’s pause for a moment and think about this remarkable man – a true inspiration.

He lived his tough life with a smile on his face… and people still smile when they think about this – disc jockey, champion disco dancer, boxer, swimmer, charity fund-raiser and so much more.

Heart swap DJ Peter “Dicko” Dickerson spinning the discs one more time at Ritzy.

Heart swap DJ Peter “Dicko” Dickerson spinning the discs one more time at Ritzy. Date: 1992 - Credit: Archant Library

Dicko's aiming for DJ top spot

Dicko's aiming for DJ top spot. Date: 1 Oct 1987 - Credit: Archant Library/Lucy Holden


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Dicko had been the 17th heart and lung transplant patient at the world-famous Papworth Hospital in 1986 and he came home determined to live his life to the full which he certainly did.

People, of all ages and walks of life, loved him…apart from, perhaps, some of those he boxed against when he was a lad in the ring! They would respect him.

Peter “Dicko” Dickerson surrounded by fans at Ritzy in Norwich

Peter “Dicko” Dickerson surrounded by fans at Ritzy in Norwich. Date: 24 Feb 1994 - Credit: Archant Library

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Peter was born 60 years ago and he lived in Lavengro Road, Norwich, with his mum and dad, Jenny and Richard, brother Paul and sisters Amanda and Marie.

Just before he died, back in Papworth in 1994, he rang all his family and his girlfriend Anna to tell them: “I love you.”

Paul said at the time: “He needed to call us and tell us he loved us. But then he changed tack and was saying ‘I’ll be out soon and we’ll go to Zaks.’”

Dad Richard, who died seven years ago, said then that he believed his son knew he was going to die. “He phoned every member of his family. He knew.”

And he paid tribute to all the Evening News readers who, a few months before his death, supported our appeal to get Dicko an electric wheelchair.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for what they did for my son. He used to go out of here with a smile on his face and that was all down to the Evening News,” he added.

Readers favourite DJ of the decade Peter “Dicko” Dickerson

Readers favourite DJ of the decade Peter “Dicko” Dickerson with his winning voters Sandra Jeary and her daughter Michaela. Date: 29 Dec 1989 - Credit: Archant Library

Some of you may remember Dicko from his days as a great DJ at dear old Ritzy’s and for his own spot on Radio Broadland.

He developed his own fighting spirit as a young boxer with the likes of Ron Springall, a trainer at the Broadside Club in West Earlham. At the time he was as fit as a fiddle and he went on to become a disco-dancing champion.

It was then discovered he had a rare infection that was clogging his heart and lungs and then eventually led to the transplant operation.

Dicko went on to perform at the World Transplant Games and worked so hard to help others in many different ways.

When he later discovered he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair he said: “You have to look beyond the clouds to see the sun. I am just happy to have been able to carry on for as long as I did.”

Heart-lung transplant patient Peter Dickerson prepares to leave Papworth hospital

Heart-lung transplant patient Peter Dickerson prepares to leave Papworth hospital with his mother and father Jennifer and Richard. Date: 1986 - Credit: Archant Library

John Wallwork, who performed the transplant operation, said: “Peter was an amazing guy, He faced a fatal illness before his transplant and lived life to the full after it.”

Canon Leslie Ward first met Dicko at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and said: “Life for him was a great challenge and he worked, worked and worked at it. He was a remarkable young man.”

He added: “We can only look up and admire this young man who did it, not for his own glory for the good of other people.”

The service ended with the playing of his favourite song… Come On Eileen, by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

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