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Aldringham mourns the loss of ‘irreplaceable’ community champion Tony Woods, 72

PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:30 14 June 2017

Tony Woods, pictured in the foreground wearing a light blue shirt, at one of the Rural Coffee Caravan sessions he helped organise for Aldringham He is talking to Sally Fogden, the project's founder. Picture: RURAL COFFEE CARAVAN

Tony Woods, pictured in the foreground wearing a light blue shirt, at one of the Rural Coffee Caravan sessions he helped organise for Aldringham He is talking to Sally Fogden, the project's founder. Picture: RURAL COFFEE CARAVAN

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A Suffolk village is mourning the loss of an “irreplaceable” community champion who “would do anything for anyone” and helped to organise initiatives including the Rural Coffee Caravan.

Anthony Woods, 72, died after crashing his vintage motorbike at a rally near Loch Ness on Sunday.

In Aldringham, near Leiston, where Mr Woods was widely known and greatly respected, the news has been met with an outpouring of grief.

Mr Woods, known to his friends as Tony, was heavily involved in village life. From delivering the parish newsletter and co-ordinating Neighbourhood Watch to saving public footpaths and carrying out repairs for his neighbours, Mr Woods was said to be the heart of the community.

“If anyone needed anything done, Tony would always be there to help,” said neighbour Joyce Slater, 93 – comments echoed by many in the village.

Another neighbour, Robin Chatten, described Mr Woods as “irreplaceable” and said he would be “very sadly missed,”

Jill Hubbard, who has known Mr Woods for many years, said he was “absolutely brilliant - an amazing man”. “He was one of those guys who would be there if you needed anything,” she said.

Abigail Grayson-Brown, a young mother living in the village, said Mr Woods had been “the most dependable and reliable friend with many amazing qualities”.

Mr Woods grew up in the village, in the grounds of Raidsend, the house designed by renowned architect Cecil Lay.

Christine Laschet, who used to edit the village newsletter, said Mr Woods may have been inspired by Mr Lay to become a draughtsman.

He worked for Ordnance Survey in Southampton, where he met his wife Moira. They were married in Scotland in 1965 and had two sons who live in Australia and America with children of their own. They are both said to be returning home to be with their mother.

The couple moved back to Aldringham around 15 years ago. Mr Woods played a significant role with St Andrew’s Church and in organising community initiatives such as the Rural Coffee Caravan, which visits the green once a month. Ann Osborn, who runs the project, said he was instrumental in bringing it to Aldringham.

When not helping others, Mr Woods’ passion was motorcycles. He organised rallies at the Long Shop in Leiston, and was a member of the Francis-Barnett Owners Club. Mrs Hubbard said one consolation was that he died doing something he loved.

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