Tributes paid to woman who was her village's heartbeat

Tributes have been paid to Ann English.

Tributes have been paid to Ann English. - Credit: Tom Scammell

Tributes have been paid to a woman who was the heart and soul of her village.

Ann English died suddenly but peacefully on May 19 at her Whissonsett home aged 83. A popular member of many societies and organisations in and around the village, she had lived in Whissonsett for 38 years.

The mother of four was born in Shipdham on February 22, 1938, to parents Jack and Vella. Her grandparents ran the King’s Head pub in Shipdham.

Ann English with the poster which has returned to Whissonsett from America after 150 years. Picture:

Ann’s greatest endeavor was compiling a massive historical archive of Whissonsett and its residents. - Credit: Matthew Usher

She attended Shipdham School and later Dereham High School. She excelled at art but was persuaded by her parents to take up teaching instead of going to art college.

She taught at Weasenham school for two years before meeting her husband Antony Scammell by chance when he opened a letter Ann had sent to the British Army looking for a penfriend. Ann eloped to Jersey with Anthony where they married in 1958.


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Ann moved to Bristol, Somerset, and soon started a family, having four children Julian, Tamsin, Edmund, and Thomas. In addition to being a very busy housewife, Ann worked part-time as a cook and pursued her hobbies including painting, writing, and handicrafts.

Hugh Seagrim on hjis brother Derek featured on the Whissonsett village sign. Picture: Ian Burt

Ann returned to Norfolk in 1983 with her son Thomas and settled in Whissonsett and married Peter English a year later. - Credit: IAN BURT

Ann returned to Norfolk in 1983 with her son Thomas and settled in Whissonsett and married Peter English a year later.

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Ann devoted her time over the next four decades to the village’s associations, societies, clubs, and projects. She was the clerk to the parish councils of Whissonsett and Beetley, and a popular reader for the Fakenham Talking Times.

She was commissioned to paint many local village and farming scenes, and along with her husband, Peter was a long-standing member and competitor in both the Whissonsett and Fakenham Horticultural Associations. She also wrote a prolific number of letters and articles for local newspapers and made contributions to charity.

Ann’s greatest endeavor was compiling a massive historical archive of Whissonsett and its residents.

She became the contact for anybody seeking information on their ancestors who had lived in the village at any time. This archive will be donated to the church and eventually uploaded to the internet for future use and enjoyment.

Her funeral will take place at St Mary’s Church, Whissonsett, and Mintlyn Crematorium. Donations in her memory are being collected for the Brisley Age Concern Group and can be made via Fakenham and District Funeral Services Ltd.

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