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Tribute to man who was a pillar of village life for decades

PUBLISHED: 09:12 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:00 14 February 2018

Geoffrey Knights, known as Geof, from High Kelling, pictured in 2012. Picture: Robin Johnson

Geoffrey Knights, known as Geof, from High Kelling, pictured in 2012. Picture: Robin Johnson

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A grandfather who put his heart and soul into improving his village and contributing to local life has died.

Geoffrey Knights, 90, who was made an MBE for services to the community in High Kelling, with his wife Evelyn, 89. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYGeoffrey Knights, 90, who was made an MBE for services to the community in High Kelling, with his wife Evelyn, 89. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Geoffrey Knights, known as Geof, was even made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the community in the north Norfolk village of High Kelling, near Holt. He passed away aged 90 on January 19.

Mr Knights and Evelyn, his wife of 63 years, had two sons and two grandsons.

He was affectionately nicknamed ‘Mr High Kelling’. He became chairman of a village group in the 1950s, working hard to raise money to buy a plot of land for a village hall, which was later built by volunteers.

He was chairman of the High Kelling Society, organising many social and cultural events to bring the village together. A submission from the society outlining Mr Knights’ achievements said of the hall’s construction: “Geof was one of those who spent most of his free time putting in very many back-breaking hours to physically build it - breaking up the concrete base which was already on site, carrying bricks, cement making, laying a flat base, erecting the pre-formed girders and putting on the roof.”

Mr Knights was chairman of the hall management committee from 1969 to 2006, and was then made its life president.

For 45 years he also produced a monthly magazine, the High Kelling News, and co-wrote a book about his home called Life of a Village along with other local history buffs.

Mr Knights was also churchwarden at the village’s All Saints Church - a post he took up in about 1965. The village magazine piece said: “In the early days he took turns with his fellow churchwarden every Sunday to light the coke boiler at 6am so that the church would be warm for the morning service.”

Mr Knights was a woodwork teacher, and put his skills to work at the church, making a memorial altar rail to one of the first churchwardens, commemorative ‘wardens’ staves’ and a new lectern to mark his 60th wedding anniversary in 2014.

He was also High Kelling’s parish chairman and clerk. The MBE was announced on the 2018 New Year Honour List.

There will be a memorial service at St Andrew’s Church, Holt at midday on Saturday, February 24. Donations to All Saints Church are welcome.

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