Obituary: Jeanne Le Surf, 'Rambler' of the Evening News
PUBLISHED: 16:09 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:12 23 November 2017
Obituary: Trevor Heaton pays tribute to the remarkable Jeanne Le Surf, stalwart of Norfolk walkers for decades.
Jeanne Le Surf, writer of the Evening News walks column for 40 years, has died aged 88.
Mrs Le Surf brought the joys of walking the Norfolk countryside to thousands of readers over the decades with her popular columns under her pen-name ‘Rambler’.
Together with her late husband George, who died in 2012, the couple not only publicised the Norfolk Ramblers but also put in hundreds of hours of work to protect and open up rights of way that local walkers can still enjoy today.
Mrs Le Surf had been suffering from Lewy body dementia for several years and had been looked after at St Mary’s, a specialist home in New Buckenham.
Before that she had moved to Diss in 2013 to be closer to her daughter Jane, her partner Mark, and their son Tom. Jeanne and George Le Surf formerly lived at Armes Road in Norwich.
Mr Le Surf-Hall paid tribute to the care she received at the home. “The staff at the home have been wonderful and she has been well looked after,” he said.
“She and George were a wonderful partnership - both being active members of the Norfolk Ramblers’ Association for over 40 years, respectively holding the posts of president and vice-president.
“In 2014 a memorial bench for George was sited in Diss in memory and recognition of his achievements and in the same year Jeanne was provided with lifetime honorary membership for The Ramblers in recognition of her work.”
The Le Surfs moved to Norfolk in 1957, and Mrs Le Surf became secretary of Norfolk Ramblers in 1960. Two years later she began her Evening News columns and went on to describe more than 1,500 walks.
In 1964 she spoke of her passion for walking: “I think the time is coming when we need more than ever to get away from cities and traffic, into the real countryside, and I hope if more people take these walks it will help to keep open footpaths and bridleways for the future.”
In 1998, Jeanne placed a copy of the Evening News into a time capsule for her baby grandson, as it included her Rambler column inside it. Tom was living in Greenwich at the time but several years later the family moved to Diss in Norfolk. When the capsule was opened in 2010 by Tom on his 13th birthday, he was amazed when he saw where the walk was for. It was for his new home town of Diss. “Derren Brown couldn’t have pulled off a better trick than that,” Mr Le Surf-Hall added.
Jeanne’s funeral will be at 3.45pm on Friday December 8 at Earlham Crematorium.