Obituary: Army veteran with a 'heart of gold', dies aged 41

Norwich man Graham Turner with his partner Kelly Sadler and children Maddison and Chloeanne

Norwich man Graham Turner with his partner Kelly Sadler and children Maddison and Chloeanne - Credit: Family submit

Family and friends have paid tribute to a hard-working army veteran who died while out on his beloved bike. 

Graham Turner was born and raised in Costessey and attended primary and high school in the suburb. 

At the age of 15 he moved schools to study at Chantry Academy in Ipswich before joining the army at the age of 16. 

Over the next six years, serving with the Royal Anglian A company, Graham served in countries including Jordan, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. 

Graham, who worked for ABC Taxis in Norwich, pictured with his daughter

Graham, who worked for ABC Taxis in Norwich, pictured with his daughter - Credit: Family submit

Returning to Norfolk aged 22, Graham met his future partner Kelly Sadler, who was then aged 19. 

Kelly, mum to Graham's two children, said: "We met online and back then there were no pictures with profiles. 

"I remember walking through Riverside on the phone to Graham trying to work out which one he was. 

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"Then I saw him. He was just out of the army and was so charming and handsome. He was working as a driver as he was trying to find his feet in the world after leaving the armed forces. 

Graham Turner, who worked for ABC Taxis in Norwich and lived in Diss, was a keen cyclist

Graham Turner, who worked for ABC Taxis in Norwich and lived in Diss, was a keen cyclist - Credit: Family submit

"My impression of him was that he was just so bubbly and had a heart of absolute gold. He'd put anyone else's thoughts and feelings before his own."

In 2011 Kelly became pregnant with the couple's first child Chloeanne and the family moved to Diss where Graham founded Diss Town Taxis. 

Two years Kelly gave birth to their second child, Maddison. 

Graham Turner with his daughter Chloeanne, five, at Run Norwich. Picture: HANNAH YELDHAM

Graham Turner with his daughter Chloeanne, five, pictured at Run Norwich. Picture: HANNAH YELDHAM - Credit: Archant

In 2015 Maddison, aged two years old, died of cancer. 

Kelly said: "Graham threw himself into fundraising for child cancer support charities. He did the London Marathon and the Norwich run a couple of times. 

"He sold Diss Town Cars a few years later because it was just too much with everything that had happened."

Despite the incredibly difficult times the couple faced, Graham remained a "big kid" at heart who adored his family. 

Graham Turner with his daughters Maddison Turner (left) and Chloeanne Turner.Maddison died aged tw

Graham Turner with his daughters Maddison Turner (left) and Chloeanne Turner. Maddison died aged two on September 11, 2015 after battling cancer. Photo: submitted.

"My fondest memories of Graham are watching television or a film with a mountain of popcorn between us," Kelly said. 

"He absolutely loved Haribo and it was a race between him and Chloeanne as to who could get to it first. He was a real film nut and really enjoyed going to the cinema. 

"We also used to go to Joyland in Great Yarmouth to mark Maddison's anniversary as that's where she spent one of her last days. 

Graham Turner with his partner Kelly Sadler and their daughters Maddison Turner ( far right) and Chl

Graham Turner with his partner Kelly Sadler and their daughters Maddison Turner ( far right) and Chloeanne Turner. Maddison died aged two on September 11 2015 after battling cancer. Photo: submitted. - Credit: submitted

"Graham was always the one to go on the rides with the kids, he was always playing with Chloeanne and his nieces and nephews. He was just a big kid at heart," Kelly continued. 

Having sold his business, Graham began working for ABC Taxis in Norwich. 

Kelly said: "I think he enjoyed being a taxi driver because he was really chatty. He always liked having a natter even if his customers weren't always listening. 

Graham Turner with his daughter Maddison Turner. 

Graham Turner with his daughter Maddison Turner.

"And he was incredibly hard working, he commuted to Norwich and worked nights but always just got on with it."

Chris Harvey, marketing manager for ABC, said: "Graham was one of those people who just came in and cracked on.

"He was a family man and he spoke a lot about cycling, some of which he did to raise money for charity.

"Because our drivers are self-employed we rarely see them in the office unless they need help with something. 

"But if he ever did he'd head straight in and was really down to earth and got on with it. He came to us having been recommended by one of our drivers and he was an exemplary member of the team."

Graham died at the age of 41 of heart failure while out cycling with friends. 

Kelly said: "It's unusual for someone who didn't drink or smoke. 

"He used to cycle 200 miles a week or so, he was always trying to raise money for charity and even when the doctors told him he needed to stop running because of his Achilles, he just started cycling instead."