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‘She was one in a million and I adored her’ - Tributes paid to Norfolk nurse following her death

PUBLISHED: 11:16 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:16 28 August 2018

 Thorpe Hamlet couple June and Jim Marriage volunteers for the national war memorials trust at their local memorial outside St Matthews Church. Photo : Steve Adams

Thorpe Hamlet couple June and Jim Marriage volunteers for the national war memorials trust at their local memorial outside St Matthews Church. Photo : Steve Adams

Archant Norfolk 2011

She was a woman born in London during the 1930s who moved to Norwich to become a much-loved nurse, health visitor, historian and great ambassador for the city and county. Derek James pays tribute to June Marriage.

Telling the story of the Rosary Cemetery in Thorpe Hamlet to visitors. Photo: Family AlbumsTelling the story of the Rosary Cemetery in Thorpe Hamlet to visitors. Photo: Family Albums

She was special in so many ways to different people. She cared for some, worked for many, entertained others, informed more, had a great sense of fun and was very modest.

Her name was June Marriage who has died following a long illness at her home in Thorpe Hamlet. As her husband of so many years Jim said: “I was smitten from the first time I saw her when we were 17. She was one in a million and I adored her.”

A couple of years ago when I had the privilege of writing a foreword to her A Thorpe Hamlet Miscellany book which was made up of a collection of articles she had written as a member of the local history group for the St Matthew’s Church parish magazine.

They proved how well June could write and it illustrated her love and knowledge of the “village in the city” where she and Jim were leading members of the community.

June and Jim getting married in 1955. Photo: Family AlbumsJune and Jim getting married in 1955. Photo: Family Albums

Growing up in London her father was a soldier and she became a student nurse – meeting and falling in love with another soldier, called Jim. They lived in Germany and had a daughter Anne and son Michael.

Anne, her husband Phillip, and their children Ben and Henry work together in the family jewellery and bead shops called Raphael and Raphael Crafts in St Benedict’s Norwich and one at Lowestoft while Michael worked as a computer manager at City College.

When Jim left the army he worked as a quantity surveyor and was then offered a job teaching surveying and building at the City College in Norwich.

They moved into a house in Thorpe Hamlet in 1967 and never left it – falling in love with Norwich and Norfolk.

June’s degree award ceremony at the UEA in 1994. Photo: Family AlbumsJune’s degree award ceremony at the UEA in 1994. Photo: Family Albums

June worked as a nurse at all the Norwich hospitals, including St Andrew’s, she was also a health visitor and she wanted to get some industrial experience so she worked for a time at various factories including Diamond H Controls and at Heron Books.

In the 1960s/70 she had also worked as a health assistant with the children at the Clare School in Norwich and joined the local Muscular Dystrophy Group.

She helped with fund-raising schemes giving talks to many groups.

Then, inspired by a talk from Baroness Hollis of Norwich she took English and history courses at City College before, years later, graduating with a BA in History at the UEA.

June with her daughter Anne outside the family Bead Shop in St Benedict’s Street, Norwich. Photo: Family AlbumsJune with her daughter Anne outside the family Bead Shop in St Benedict’s Street, Norwich. Photo: Family Albums

She and Jim both became Tourist Guides in Norwich, showing thousands of visitors from across the world, and finer points of the Fine City.

They were also regional volunteers for the War Memorials’ Trust recording the condition of memorials across Norfolk and she was attended a reception hosted at Clarence House by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

June suffered a stroke in 2015 and was later nursed at home. “I cannot speak too highly of the NHS and the carers who kept us going for the last three years,” said Jim.

Her funeral will take place at her beloved Rosary Chapel at Rosary Cemetery – June was a founder member of the Friends of the Rosary - on Thursday September 6 at 1.15pm followed by refreshments at St Matthew’s Church, Thorpe Hamlet.

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