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Gallery: Felixstowe pays tribute to larger-than-life legend Charlie Manning

PUBLISHED: 12:45 13 May 2011 | UPDATED: 17:22 13 May 2011

Charlie Manning

Charlie Manning

FRIENDS and relatives have paid tribute to Felixstowe icon Charles Manning who tragically died yesterday.

The 66-year-old had been suffering with cancer but did his best to keep the illness private, still appearing in public and keeping in touch with his amusement park in Sea Road through his sons, Charles Jr and Jonathan.

In a tragic irony, he was due to be nominated as president of Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce on Monday in recognition of his long service and dedication to the resort.

His wife Sarah, of St Edmunds Road, said: “He was a wonderful, loving, caring husband, who dearly loved his boys and he would do anything for his family.

“Nobody would say a bad word about him. He moved to Felixstowe as a one-year-old, took over the business when his dad died, and now his two boys will take over and I know they will make him proud.

“He was quite a legend within the town. He had so many friends and not one enemy.

“He’s gone too soon but he went peacefully.”

As the second generation of one of the most influential families in recent Felixstowe history, Mr Manning was a well-known and well-liked figure around the resort.

He followed in the footsteps of his father, Charles Sr, who moved from London’s East end to take over the Sea Road arcade from Billy Butlin in 1945.

His sons have been gradually taking over the reigns of the business between them and have vowed to keep it going as their father’s lasting legacy to the town.

Charles Jr, 33, who lives in Felixstowe, said: “We have had so many sympathy messages and flowers with everyone saying what a great man he was and a great figure for Felixstowe.

“He was very work-driven, and he was very proud of what he did and very proud of the business. He looked after his staff very well.

“His greatest achievement was continuing the legacy of the amusements that our granddad started all those years ago.

“He was a great man and I just hope I can do him proud from now on.”

Jonathan, 31, who lives in Woodbridge, added: “I would like to thank everyone for all the support we have had – we’ve had lots of people getting in touch and it’s meant a lot to us.”

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