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Tributes paid to life-long Norwich City fan and funeral director

PUBLISHED: 11:02 11 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:43 12 August 2019

David Bridge with his partnerTrish Belsey. Picture: Trish Belsey

David Bridge with his partnerTrish Belsey. Picture: Trish Belsey

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Tributes have been paid to a life-long Norwich City fan and respected funeral director who always had an ability to make people smile - even on the saddest of days.

David Bridge was a life long Norwich City fan. Picture: Trish BelseyDavid Bridge was a life long Norwich City fan. Picture: Trish Belsey

David Bridge, of John Brown Funeral Care in Norwich, died unexpectedly aged 57 on July 19.

A former pupil of Blyth Jex School as it was then known, Mr Bridge entered the funeral trade aged 16 as a coffin maker. In 1996, he joined John Brown Funeral Care, in Sprowston, eventually taking over the running of the business.

During his career he developed a reputation for directing funerals to the highest of standards and always with compassion.

Broni Hallsborough, Mr Bridge's daughter who followed her father into the funeral trade and has taken on the running of John Brown Funeral Care following her father's death, said he was an excellent mentor. She said: "People got to know us as father and daughter, we became a duo, so it's been very difficult and strange to do funerals without him."

David Bridge with Broni Hallsborough. Picture: Trish BelseyDavid Bridge with Broni Hallsborough. Picture: Trish Belsey

She said her father was a "larger and than life character" who "always put others before himself". She said: "He was just a one off. The amount of compassion he had for families was amazing."

Ms Hallsborough said she had been humbled by all the tributes which had been sent to the family following Mr Bridge's death: "I had no idea how big his presence was within the community, there'll never be another one like him."

Trish Belsey, Mr Bridge's partner, said: "The way he ran his company was fair, he was a small independent and he cared. I think that's why he was so highly regarded. He was always immaculately dressed."

A life-long Canaries fan, Mr Bridge attended his first match aged five, and never looked back, even naming his bulldog Barclay after the Barclay stand where his seat was.

Ms Belsey said away from his work Mr Bridge liked life's small pleasures. She said: "At the end of the day he always liked the simple things in life, beach walks, his football, family get-togethers. He was very much a family man, he loved his children."

Mr Bridge leaves behind his partner, five children, 12 grand-children and one great-grandchild. His funeral will take place at Colney Wood on Tuesday, August 13, and a funeral procession passing John Brown Funeral Care will take place beforehand.

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