By STEVE DOWNES
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
A Cromer man whose nickname “Tich” belied his larger-than-life personality has died at the age of 87.
Henry Bussey was one of Cromer’s best-known characters, having spent the vast majority of his life in the town that he loved.
His zest for life and sharp sense of humour saw him gain notoriety for dressing as Father Christmas every summer during Cromer Carnival to visit the patients at Cromer Hospital and Halsey House.
Mr Bussey, whose wife Pamela died a few years ago, was born in 1925 in Hindringham - one of 10 children.
The years between the war were difficult, and the family had a hard life, often without enough food to eat. The struggle resulted in some time living rough, and a spell in Gressenhall Workhouse, near Dereham.
In 1933, the family was given a council house at Alby, before moving to Cromer and finally settling down in 1937.
Mr Bussey enjoyed spending time on the beach with the fishermen and got to know legendary lifeboat coxswain Henry Blogg.
When the second world war began, he became an errand boy and then worked in a garage, before joining the Royal Navy in 1942.
He was a stoker and trained at HMS Duke before going to Portsmouth and then on to HMS Tormentor, a combined operations base. His time there included the terrible task of unloading the injured and dead who returned from the D-Day landings.
His wartime adventures included an unexpected trip to New York on a French trooper called Ile de France, then time in Canada, Australia and Scotland.
When the war was over, he was demobbed and did several jobs, including trawling in the merchant navy on timber runs to Finland and Germany.
He met Pamela in 1947 and they married in 1948.
Mr Bussey worked as a crop sprayer, then spent 10 years at Cromer Gas Works - until it closed in 1958 and he went to Corby steel works for six months.
Back in Cromer again, he worked at the Master Sargeants’ Club at Newhaven Court, then became a plasterers’ labourer before spending 23 years driving dustcarts for Cromer urban and North Norfolk district councils.
Mr Bussey, who leaves children David, Rosemary, Linda, Edwina and Edward, plus seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, was well known in Cromer for his close involvement with the Royal Naval Association and the Royal British Legion.
Some might also remember him for his favourite trick - seen often in the Albion or the Suffield Park Hotel - of taking out his false teeth and putting them in his beer to test it.
His eldest son David, from Lynewood Close in Cromer, said: “We will remember him for his love of life. He didn’t want to see people unhappy. He was a special character in the town.”
● A funeral service is being held at Cromer Parish Church at noon on Friday. Family flowers only, with donations if desired to the Royal Naval Association and the Stroke Association.