Obituary: Doctor, and son of Norwich's recycling empire founder, dies aged 69

Dr Max Warminger has died aged 69

Dr Max Warminger, son of Alfred Warminger who established one of the biggest recycling plants in the country in Norwich, has died aged 69 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The son of Norwich's pioneering waste disposal dynasty, who went on to become a doctor specialising in alternative forms of medicine, has died aged 69. 

Max Warminger was born on May 9, 1952, at his parent's home, Bracondale House, in Norwich. 

His father, Alfred Warminger, was a well-known Norfolk character who first hit the national headlines back in the 1930s. 

Alfred Warminger, the young cinema pioneer who established one of the biggest recycling plants in th

Alfred Warminger, the young cinema pioneer who established one of the biggest recycling plants in the country – in Norwich - Credit: Archant

At the age of 14, Alfred opened the Enterprise Cinema in Northumberland Street becoming its manager, operator and cashier, with the help of a friend. The stars of the opening gala night with the Lord Mayor were the children of Norwich and thousands attended. 

Later, the young cinema pioneer would go on to establish in the city, one of the biggest recycling plants in the country, where today his memory is kept alive with Warminger Court on the site of his old recycling business. Following the Second World War, he returned to Norwich to develop the Ber Street waste-paper and recycling empire.  

The busy old wastepaper yard in Ber Street. Picture: Courtesy of Jan Warminger

The busy old wastepaper yard in Ber Street - Credit: Courtesy of Jan Warminger

Alfred was also a city councillor, magistrate, former sheriff, and top glider pilot. 

Dr Warminger’s mother, Ena (nee Dodd), was a quiet, conscientious, and accomplished shorthand typist and secretary. He also had a younger sister, Jan. 

He attended Lakenham Infants and Junior Schools, followed by the City of Norwich Grammar School, where he is described as being a “studious and committed” student. He then spent six years at Liverpool University Medical School, before returning to Norfolk in the mid-1970s where he worked as a junior doctor at Yarmouth General Hospital and then the United Norwich Hospitals.  

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As a partner in his father’s business, Dr Waminger took on a more active role in the business when Alfred retired. 

In 1980, Dr Warminger married Dr Barbara Cooper. She described their relationship as: “A union of hearts, souls and minds and dovetailed life purpose to maximise and fulfill human potential."

Despite always having had an interest in psychiatry, he specialised in anaesthetics and developed a particular interest in medical hypnosis and alternative forms of medicine. 

Dr Cooper added: “Together [we] embarked on a journey of self-discovery through enquiry into alternative medicine and its offerings, with each contributing their discoveries to their own professions - Max, hypnotic inductions in anaesthesia, and Barbara clowning and puppetry for self-expression in general family practice, both with reference to promoting individual agency and expression. 

"[We] also evolved further [our] ethos of 'happiness for healthy and fulfilling lives’.” 

Dr Warminger found alignment with Ken Dodd’s qualities for health and happiness and together they referenced a concept of setting up a National Happiness Health Service. To this end, Dr Warminger and his wife set up the Warminger Wellbeing Fund to support projects dear to their hearts, via the Norfolk Community Foundation. 

Dr Cooper described her husband as “a highly creative and innovative person”. 

She added: “[He was] so amazingly capable of unique problem solving and was happiest when working on incredible gardening and DIY projects and humbly exceeding even his own expectations when satisfied, with the most authentic of smiles.” 

Dr Max Warminger loved spending time on projects in his garden

Dr Max Warminger loved spending time on projects in his garden - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

During his retirement, which he took early, he enjoyed gardening, yoga, and also expanded his interest in alternative medicine. 

He became ill during his early sixties. During this time, his wife and friends rallied around to support him with the love that he had shown others, drawing on his belief and experience in alternative medicine. 

Father and sister of Dr Max Warminger, Alfred and Jan

Father and sister of Dr Max Warminger, Alfred and Jan - Credit: Courtesy of Jan Warminger

His sister, Jan Warminger, said he was a “gentle soul”. 

He died on December 15, 2021. 

As well as his wife and sister, he is survived by his niece Beth, nephews James and William, and great-nephews Alfie and Jack.  

A cremation service took place at Earlham Crematorium on January 17, where donations were raised for the Warminger Wellbeing Fund made payable to the Norfolk Community Foundation. A memorial service is planned for late spring or early summer 2022.