Obituary: Tony West ‘at the heart of Cromer Carnival’

Tony West was the spirit of Cromer Carnival, and at its heart.

Mr West, who has died aged 54, spent his life supporting the annual extravaganza, organising activities, making floats, wearing costumes and filling others with his infectious enthusiasm and sense of fun.

On more than one occasion he dressed as a woman and tried to enter the annual Miss Cromer contest.

And, despite nearing the end of his two-year battle with cancer, he was determined to take part in this summer's illuminated parade with his family, winning first prize with his carousel float.

Carnival chairman Tony Shipp, whose association with the event began in 1972, remembers Mr West turning up to the children's events in that year, aged just nine or 10.

'Even at that stage he soon got involved in helping me,' said Mr Shipp. 'He was always very enthusiastic and quite creative.'

As he got older, Mr West ran family discos at the carnival and eventually took over running the event's children's weeks from Mr Shipp. Mr West ran them with his first wife for 15 years and, for the past six, with the help of Libby Clohisey.

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A self-employed electrician, Mr West was also a keen bell-ringer. His grandfather had been tower captain at Cromer Parish Church and Mr West began ringing there as a boy.

He was married three times and had three sons by his first marriage, and two grandchildren. He and his first wife also fostered teenagers.

Mr West also has family in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

In June he married Amanda Richardson, his partner of the past five years, in Croatia. The couple arrived at the ceremony on jetskis.

The holiday was one of many the pair packed in after Mr West's diagnosis. Others included a trip to Tenerife in January where they jumped 12,000ft off a mountain 'each strapped to a parachute and a Spaniard,' according to Mrs West.

Mr West also loved Christmas and added to the festive lights at his Grove Road home every year.

For the past two years the couple joined forces with friends across the road for a switch-on ceremony, and the event will go ahead again this year, with a collection for Macmillan Cancer Support.

He took part in the last Cromer Boxing Day Dip, dressed as an inflatable Father Christmas.

Mr Shipp said Mr West's contribution to Cromer Carnival had been 'enormous', adding: 'Cromer and carnival were at his heart.'

A funeral service will be held in Cromer Parish Church at 10am on Tuesday October 18.