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Family pays tribute to Norwich's community champion

PUBLISHED: 06:37 06 December 2011

Julian Foster, chairman of City Centre Snap in the Castle Gardens which are set for a improvement in a bid to drive down anti social behaviour.


Picture: James Bass

Copy: Peter Walsh

For: EN News

Evening News © 2010  (01603) 772434

Julian Foster, chairman of City Centre Snap in the Castle Gardens which are set for a improvement in a bid to drive down anti social behaviour. Picture: James Bass Copy: Peter Walsh For: EN News Evening News © 2010 (01603) 772434

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010

The family of a community champion who lost a short battle with cancer aged 80 have paid their own tribute to the man who dedicated his life to making Norwich a better place to live.

Julian Foster was chairman of the Central Norwich Citizens’ Forum and the city centre’s Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel who was also a promoter of the city centre’s night-time economy and helped launch the taxi marshal scheme.

Mr Foster, who died on Friday morning at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following a short battle with cancer, will leave a “massive gap” according to his daughter Sue, 51, and son Paul, 47, who today fondly remembered the father-of-three and grandfather-of-four who moved to Norwich in 1990.

Sue, who lives in London, said: “I think all of us were very aware that the work he did in Norwich was very important to him. He was 80 and I think it kept him active. He just really loved it. He will definitely leave a massive gap.

“For me personally if I ever had a problem at home he was one of the first people I rang for advice and he was very good about giving it. He will definitely be missed.”

Paul, who lives in Essex and had been with him in hospital on the Wednesday before his death, said he and the rest of the family were shocked at the speed at which the disease took him.

He said: “We were just trying to organise his care for when he came out. We knew he wasn’t going to get better but just weren’t expecting it to be so quick.

“It’s only really been the past couple of weeks that he’s shown he’s been ill. It’s just all happened so quickly.”

Mr Foster, who was admitted to hospital on Monday, November 28, gave up his own time to run the citizens’ forum and was a tireless campaigner for the rights of people living in the city centre.

He was at the forefront of the Evening News’s Graffitibusters campaign to rid the city’s streets of illegal graffiti tags and worked closely with police in the city to make Norwich a safer place.

Sergeant Pete Sharples, of the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We were very sad to hear of Julian’s passing.

“Over the past five years I’ve developed a strong working relationship with him and I counted him as a friend as well as a colleague.

“He worked tirelessly and enthusiastically with realism to improve Norwich City Centre for visitors and workers alike. His influence and support will be missed immensely by us all.”

Mr Foster was behind the introduction of a taxi marshal scheme in Norwich, regularly attended licensing meetings in the city and also backed Norwich’s first ever City of Ale Festival this year.

Entrepreneur Steve Peri, who owns and runs a number of entertainment premises in Prince of Wales Road, including the former Mercy nightclub, Rocco’s bar and Pulse/Lace club and bar, said he was saddened by the news and had lost a close friend.

He said: “What can I say? I’m very saddened, very, very saddened. He was a good friend and he was a close friend. Norwich has lost a very respectable person. He’s done a lot for Norwich - for the residents and businesses as well.”

Mark Streeter, who owns Courtesy Cars based at Prince of Wales Road in the city and has a part share in Beeline and Dolphin taxi, today described Mr Foster as an “unpaid star”.

He said: “I can’t say enough about him. He was just 100pc. He was there for everyone and always on the end of a phone. His work was tireless and unpaid.”

Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Foster? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

<t> Well-known Norwich businessman Hy Kurzner died last week, as reported in yesterday’s Evening News. For more tributes to Mr Kurzner see Derek James tomorrow<wed>.

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