Grief follows couple's celebrations

A grieving woman has told how her “soul mate” died when his motorcycle hit a deer the day after they had celebrated their first anniversary.Father-of-two Gary Chamberlin, 46, was on his way to work in Felthorpe on Tuesday last week when he lost control of his motorbike after hitting a deer and suffered a skull fracture.

A grieving woman has told how her “soul mate” died when his motorcycle hit a deer the day after they had celebrated their first anniversary.

Father-of-two Gary Chamberlin, 46, was on his way to work in Felthorpe on Tuesday last week when he lost control of his motorbike after hitting a deer and suffered a skull fracture. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was travelling along Scottow Road in Lammas, near Coltishall, because the Aylsham road was closed because of roadworks.

Mr Chamberlin's partner Sarah Ponder, 31, said he had given her a bouquet of flowers on Monday, September 15, to celebrate their first anniversary.


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They were also about to move from the house they shared in Brick Kiln Road, North Walsham, to a dream home on the former RAF Coltishall site.

Ms Ponder, 31, who has three children of her own, said: “He was just so happy and we were supposed to be moving, but it's now all been taken away.

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“A lot of people used to comment that we had both found our soul mates. I had never been so happy, and people said we both seemed to be the happiest they had ever seen us.”

Mr Chamberlin, who had two children Ben, 19, and Samantha, 17, from a previous relationship, had left their home in North Walsham as usual at about 6.30am on Tuesday to go to work at Thomson Sawmills in Felthorpe where he was a loading shovel driver.

Ms Ponder added: “He was a safe and excellent driver and his nickname was 'Steady Eddie'. His main interests were motorbikes and fishing. He shared his motorbike passion with me.

“The blue CBR1100 Blackbird he was driving he had only just got. Everyone said what a safe driver Gary was. He never did anything stupid.”

Mr Chamberlin's mother Margaret Chamberlin, 71, from John of Gaunt Close, Aylsham, said: “Gary has been the happiest I have ever seen him since he met Sarah.

“For the last 12 months he had a permanent smile on his face. I have never seen such a love match. To say I'm devastated does not describe how I feel.”

Mr Chamberlin had worked at Thomson Sawmills for about six months. He was born in Paston and went to Happisburgh and then Stalham High School.

Brian Thomson, director of Thomson Sawmills, said: “It was a very sad loss for us and we were very shocked. Gary was a very conscientious worker.”

Greater Norfolk coroner William Armstrong opened and adjourned an inquest into the death of Mr Chamberlin in Norwich on Friday. The inquest was told Mr Chamberlin lost control of his motorcycle after colliding with a deer and suffered a skull fracture which resulted in his death.

Mr Chamberlin's father Bernard, or Barney as he was also known, died of cancer in February and Mrs Chamberlin also suffers from cancer so they have asked for donations at the funeral to the Big C appeal.

The funeral service will be at St Faith's crematorium on Monday at 11am. Donations, if desired, with cheques made payable to Big C Appeal may be sent c/o Jackson and Starling Funeral Services, Marshall House, Midland Road, North Walsham NR28 9JR.

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