Obituary: Former RAF driver was 'proper Norfolk man' who loved his city

Gordon Todd, the patriarch of his family, has died aged 94

Gordon Todd, the patriarch of his family, has died aged 94 - Credit: Supplied by Todd family

An award-winning gardener who was famed within his family for always signing off with a “Cheerio! Mind how you go” has died aged 94. 

Described as a “proper Norfolk man”, Gordon Todd, from Norwich, remained the patriarch of his close-knit family until his death. 

From tending to his garden, growing perfect chrysanthemums and caring for Koi Carp in his pond, Mr Todd enjoyed a simple life filled with wholesome memories. 

Gordon Todd as a young boy growing up in Norwich

Gordon Todd as a young boy growing up in Norwich - Credit: Supplied by Todd family

Gordon Victor Todd was born on December 22, 1927 in Ringland, near Taverham, and was the youngest son of his painter and decorator father. 

The eighth born of nine children, his mother remained at home to look after the children and the house, and they eventually moved to Norwich where they remained. 

His family described his childhood as “a hard one” due to both the living conditions of the era and the untimely death of his mother when he was aged 12 just before the Second World War. 

His father would go on to remarry. 

Gordon Todd in uniform during his National Service in the Middle East

Gordon Todd in uniform during his National Service in the Middle East - Credit: Supplied by Todd family

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During his National Service, Mr Todd was enlisted in the Royal Air Force as an armoured scout car driver in the Middle East to defend airfields. 

This began a lifelong career as a driver which saw him receive a long-service award to mark 40 years as a goods vehicle driver with the company now owned by DHL.  

He then retired in 1986 to become a taxi driver in and around the city, eventually retiring permanently at the age of 72. 

Following his National Service, Mr Todd returned to Norwich where he lived with his older siblings until he married his wife, Joyce, who he affectionately called "Joycey Babes". 

The couple began courting when she asked him if she could have a ride on his bicycle crossbar. They married at St Luke’s Church, off Aylsham Road in north Norwich, in 1951. 

They went on to have two children; son Garry in 1953 and daughter Dawn in 1960. 

Gordon Todd pictured with his children (left to right) Dawn and Garry 

Gordon Todd pictured with his children Dawn, left, and Garry - Credit: Supplied by Todd family

The siblings said they had “a happy childhood” and recounted some special memories. 

They added: “Dad would often yell 'keep off the grass’ and 'keep away from my chrysanthemums’ as we played outside. 

“We would also go on family holidays and days out to Yarmouth and Hemsby, and visit our relatives. He was very family-orientated. 

“We are a close-knit family and to him, family was everything.” 

Mr and Mrs Todd would also go dancing together and enjoyed taking dancing classes. To his surprise, Mr Todd discovered he was a good dancer and the couple made many friends through it. 

Gordon and Joyce Todd celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary

Gordon and Joyce Todd celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary - Credit: Supplied by Todd family

They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary before Mrs Todd died the following year in 2017 on Boxing Day. 

His children added: “Dad was kind-hearted and concerned for others, generous and cheerful. He loved a good laugh. He was an incomparable and exceptional father. 

"He always kept himself very smart, making sure his hair was always well-kept and his clothes ironed. He was a very proud man. 

“He enjoyed fishing with his grandchildren and was always involved in what they were doing, attending their football matches.  

“He liked using his bus pass and with mum, they enjoyed holidays abroad. 

“They lived a full life and were involved in lots of functions and had lifelong friends. 

“He was well-loved and no one had a bad word to say about him. He was a proper Norfolk man.” 

Gordon Todd was also a member of the local RAFA branch

Gordon Todd was also a member of the local RAFA branch - Credit: Supplied by Todd family

Mr Todd was also a member of the Royal Air Force Association’s Norfolk branch, an honorary member of Coldstream Guards Association Norwich Branch due to his brother’s connection, and a member of the Norwich Chrysanthemums Association of which his own were award-winning.   

Mr Todd died on March 14 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. He leaves behind his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren including two expectant.    

His funeral takes place on April 12 at 1.15pm at St Faith's Crematorium. Donations may be made to East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) at the service or via www.each.org.uk/donate