Tributes to 'a proper Norfolk countryman' who died aged 95

Les and wife Elsie on their wedding day.

Les and wife Elsie on their wedding day. - Credit: Heather Bowes

Tributes have been paid to a "proper Norfolk countryman" who died aged 95.

Les Kinsley, from Briston, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on December 4 2020.

A farm worker all his life, Mr Kinsley started work on the family farm in the village at the age of 13 scaring crows with a football rattle.

After marrying Elsie, who also worked on the farm, Mr Kinsley later moved to Melton Constable where he met neighbour Heather Bowes, who helped him to achieve local fame by putting his fascinating stories into a monthly column in free magazine, the Holt Chronicle.

Among his many tales Mr Kinsley told stories of burying a collection of hand grenades at strategic points underground in Briston to prepare for a possible invasion of German tanks during his time in the home guard, and of life on the farm catching rabbits to eat early in the morning.

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Despite this he cared greatly for animals on the farm and reserved his strongest disapproval for anyone who was deliberately cruel to an animal.

Les Kinsley and his dog Snowie. 

Les Kinsley and his dog Snowie. - Credit: Heather Bowes

Ms Bowes said: "He was a character, he was my neighbour ever since my children were born and he was a proper Norfolk countryman.

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"He had such memories, I used to go round and sit with him and each week we'd put one of his stories in the chronicle. We used to sit there and I'd go 'what shall we talk about this time?', because he'd done so much.

"He had such a vivid memory. At Christmas he used to raise chickens and sell them for Christmas dinner.

"His job was to go out with a lantern and shine it while his dad used to sort the chickens out. They used to bleat and he hated that.

"Now I'm going to go back through the stories we wrote together and pad them out with the help of his sister and republish them.

"Les will be greatly missed by a lot of people and it is an end to a unique window into the past."

At his funeral, as his coffin which also contained his beloved Elsie’s ashes was lowered, a local shoot happened to let of a volley of shots. Ms Bowes said Mr Kinsley would have been "delighted".

He leaves behind his sister Betty King, who said: "I was a lot younger than he was. There was 13 years between us: we had our good times, he was a real old country boy."

Les and wife Elsie on their wedding day.

Les and wife Elsie on their wedding day. - Credit: Heather Bowes

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