'Served with devotion' - Sir Timothy Colman celebrated at memorial service

Sir Timothy Colman

Sir Timothy Colman. - Credit: Simon Finlay

Hundreds of people gathered at Norwich Cathedral to celebrate the life of Sir Timothy Colman - hailed for serving Norfolk "with devotion".

Sir Timothy died in September, surrounded by his family, at his home at Bixley Manor, at age 91 - just nine months after the death of his beloved wife Mary.

Sir Timothy was the son of Geoffrey Colman and Lettice Adeane and the great-grandson of Jeremiah James Colman - the creator of Colman's Mustard.

His late wife was the first cousin of The Queen and members of the Royal Family, including The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra, were present at Thursday's thanksgiving service at the cathedral.

The Princess Royal with her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, at the memorial service for Sir

The Princess Royal with her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. From left, the Duke of Kent, The Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Alexandra. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Sir Timothy served as Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk for more than 25 years and was a former director of Eastern Counties Newspapers, now Archant.

But he was also a beloved father of five - Sarah Rose Troughton, Sabrina Penn, Emma Fort, James Colman and Matthew Colman.

Sarah Troughton pays tribute to her father at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Nor

Sarah Troughton pays tribute to her father at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Mrs Troughton read a tribute to her father at the service.

She said: "Norfolk was home, and here he continued the long tradition of farming and, as the kind obituaries have recorded, a very tangible commitment to the business, civic and public life of the county, particularly in Norwich."

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"He was immensely proud and influenced by the early Colman family's benevolent, philanthropic and liberal ethos.

The choir enters the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENI

The choir enters the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

"We must remember too, that he felt richly rewarded being made Lord Lieutenant of this great county and, indeed a Knight of the Garter, which he considered in part an honour to the people of Norfolk, as well as to himself."

She said as a father he was "thoughtful, witty and wise", with a "gentle and relentless energy".

Mrs Troughton added that, following Sir Timothy's death, the family had been delighted to hear from people who had spoken of the influence he had in their lives.

She said: "This is the nicest legacy for his family to hear."

Sabrina Penn reads a poem at the memorial service for her father, Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich

Sabrina Penn reads a poem at the memorial service for her father, Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Daughter Mrs Penn read the poem Crossing The Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson, while sons James and Matthew gave readings from Romans 12.9-17 and Luke 5.1-11.

James Colman gives a reading at the memorial service for his father, Sir Timothy Colman, at the Norw

James Colman gives a reading at the memorial service for his father, Sir Timothy Colman, at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

The Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, told the congregation that Sir Timothy was "a part of Norfolk life who lived a life of service for this county".

The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham Usher, gives the sermon at the memorial service for Sir Timothy

The Bishop of Norwich, Rt Rev Graham Usher, gives the sermon at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

He said: "His was a life dedicated to the service of others".

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, welcomes the congregation at the memorial service for

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, welcomes the congregation at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

The Very Revd Jane Hedges, the Dean of Norwich, described him as "a man of warmth, humour, generosity and insight - a man who understood and loved this nation and county, and served with devotion".

Having grown up near the Broads and the sea, Sir Timothy served in the Royal Navy.

And his love of sailing, which saw him become a world record holder, was fondly remembered at the memorial service.

In the boats Crossbow 1 and Crossbow 2, with designs ahead of their time, Sir Timothy broke the world record seven years in a row.

It started with 26.3 knots in 1972 and reached 36 knots in 1980 - a record which would last until 1986.

Merlin Waterson pays his tribute at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathe

Merlin Waterson pays his tribute at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

In his tribute to Sir Timothy, family friend Merlin Waterson said: "He made light of the fact that if it capsized those on the outrigger would be 30 foot above the sea: after all, they had a knife and rope to let themselves down if need be."

Mr Waterson also returned to the theme of Sir Timothy's pride in Norfolk.

The Colman family at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. From left

The Colman family at the memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. From left, Sarah Troughton, Peter Troughton, Sabrina Penn, and Christopher Penn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

He said: "His devotion to Norfolk may explain why he turned away from the national roles he could so easily have taken on, having in the 1970s, served on both the Countryside Commission and the Nature Conservancy Council.

"He liked to quote the EDP writer Jonathan Mardle, who described his newspaper as 'provincial and proud of it'.

"Timothy confirmed 'it is a sentiment I can easily identify with. Most of the best values of English life lie beyond the shores of London."

The memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The memorial service for Sir Timothy Colman at the Norwich Cathedral. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

The order of service sheet included two well-known quotes from Norfolk figures.

One was Admiral Lord Nelson's "I am a Norfolk man and glory in being so".

And the other was Mother Julian of Norwich, who said "All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well."

The hymns which were sung were Eternal Father, Strong To Save, I Vow To Thee, My Country and Praise To The Lord, The Almighty.

Representatives from local councils, along with many of the organisations which Sir Timothy had been involved with, also attended the service.

Relaxing at his home at Bixley Manor near Norwich, Sir Timothy Colman who is retiring from the post

Relaxing at his home at Bixley Manor near Norwich, Sir Timothy Colman who is retiring from the post of Lord Leiutenant after 26 years in office, with Lady Mary photo Simon Finlay copy Simon Dunford For. EDP Centro ©EDP 2003 tel 01603 772434 - Credit: EDP / Archant 2003

A life well lived

Sir Timothy was patron or president of a large number of organisations including the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, the Friends of Norwich Museums, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk and Norwich Horticultural Society, the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, English Countryside Commission, Nature Conservancy Council and many more.

Sir Timothy Colman <correct> looking out over Whitlingham Great BroadPhoto: Bill SmithCopy: Jon

Sir Timothy Colman looking out over Whitlingham Broad. - Credit: Bill Smith

At the age of 32 he launched an appeal to create a university in Norwich.

In 1962, a year later, £1.3m had been raised and the University of East Anglia, designed by Denys Lasdun, was built later that decade.

Sir Timothy became chairman of the UEA Council and Pro-Chancellor, and was instrumental in the creation of the Sainsbury Centre.

A keen painter, he tried to create a Tate of the East in the 1980s.

While that did not come to fruition, in the 1990s, the East Anglia Art Fund emerged as a result of his efforts.