Obituary: Man who sold 'best eggs in Norfolk' dies from cancer aged 58
- Credit: Dawn Wakefield
A market trader who earned the nickname "the egg man" following a change of career after receiving life-altering news, has died aged 58.
Stephen Browne became known for his friendly demeanor while selling eggs for the past decade at various markets across the county. His eggs became so popular, many customers claimed they were “the best in Norfolk”.
Born Stephen Paul Browne on October 7, 1963, in Costessey, near Norwich, he first launched his egg-selling business 11 years ago after being told he had terminal myeloma - a type of blood cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow.
And it was that devastating news that gave him the encouragement to launch his market stall.
His youngest son, Ross Browne, explained: “He first became ill in 2008, but he kept working on his stall even while undergoing his treatment for cancer. He was even working right up until the month before he died.
“He did not let the cancer govern him; he governed the cancer. He was amazing. He was determined to live his life as if the cancer did not exist.
"He was quite well known on the market scene and people said his eggs were the best eggs in Norfolk. He would have conversations with people and learn about their lives. He wouldn’t just take their money but he would spend time talking to them, finding out about their lives, and sharing details of his own life with them.”
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Before his diagnosis, Mr Browne, of Taverham, had been married but later divorced. He had two sons, Matthew, born in June 1994, and Ross, in May 1996.
He began trading at Cromer’s Friday market selling coffee on his stall Coffee 2 Go. When the previous egg stall left, people kept asking when it was coming back. Seeing the demand for it, he began selling eggs as well.
A few years later, he simplified the business by selling eggs only and started becoming a regular at Fakenham’s Thursday market from 2017 after the previous egg stall also finished there. He also traded at Watton’s Wednesday market, becoming a familiar face to all who shopped there.
From selling locally-sourced eggs, including varieties not often available in supermarkets, to hens’ eggs, double yolks, and duck, quail and goose eggs, he enjoyed the community spirit and vibe that comes with a regular market.
Ross added: “He was the sort of man who lived life to the full and helped other people before himself.
“He was a lovely, friendly chap who always had an ear ready for other people to listen to them and help them.
“The things he did for us too were amazing. He really understood us as children and what we wanted out of life – he helped us achieve our dreams and encouraged us, going above and beyond.
“He was just a really friendly, caring person who listened to others.”
Outside of his work, Mr Browne was an aviation enthusiast and used to take part in model aircraft flying with his sons when they were in high school. The trio would fly the aircraft at the former RAF Coltishall base near North Walsham, in north Norfolk.
He also lived with his father, for whom he was a full-time carer.
Mr Browne died on November 27, aged 58 years. As well as his father and sons, he leaves behind a sister and three-year-old grandson, Hugo.
His funeral will take place at St Faith Crematorium, Horsham St Faith, on Tuesday, January 4 at 2pm.
Donations can be made payable to the charity Myeloma UK via c/o Harveys Funeral Home, 1 Norwich Road, New Costessey, Norwich, NR5 0EA or online at https://www.dignityfunerals.co.uk/funeral-notices/27-11-2021-stephen-paul-browne/