Ipswich: Farewell to an Ipswich gem

IPSWICH: All the shining jewellers of Ipswich are the gifts Len Noye has bequeathed to Ipswich.

Mr Noye, the former boss of Croydon’s Jewellers – an Ipswich institution – died on November 4 at the age of 85.

Formerly managing director of the firm, Mr Noye worked for Croydon’s for more than 40 years, and many of today’s local jewellers trained under him, including Mark Riley, who described him as a “real gentlemen” who would do anything to help his customers.

Other prominent jewellers in the town who learnt their skills from him were Chris Hardman at Berridges and Trevor Ireland at Robert Gatward.

Mr Ireland said: “Len had a calm, reassuring manner with customers and staff alike which was mixed with a great sense of humour.

“He was very dedicated to upholding high standards of service and has left a legacy in the town that we are striving to achieve. He will be missed by customers and suppliers alike.”

Mr Riley, director of Riley & Riley jewellers, added: “I met Len on a number of occasions and he really was a lovely fella.

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“Len was a real gentleman. Everything was above and beyond the call of duty when it came to helping the customer.”

One of his closest colleagues, Robert Croydon, still kept in touch and visited Mr Noye whenever he was in Ipswich.

Earlier in his life, Mr Noye joined the 188 Air Training Corps and volunteered in 1943 for aircrew in the RAF aged 17.

On February 2, 1945, while out on a night navex and bombing exercise, he survived when the engine failed on the aircraft he was in and it ditched into the Irish Sea.

As well as his long career at Croydon’s, he helped to run St John’s Youth Club, was captain at Rushmere Golf Club and a member at Ipswich Golf Club.

He was also a very active member of Ipswich East Rotary Club and was still attending their weekly meetings up until a few weeks ago.

He ran the Healthy Heart Campaign and was heavily involved with the Orwell Walk for many years.

Mr Noye, a grandfather, had a strong involvement with Ipswich Town Football Club during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when Croydon’s would display the Town trophies in their windows and, among other things, they sponsored the golden goal competition. He was also a Town season ticket holder and played bowls once he gave up golf.

He leaves a widow Ellie, son Mike, three step-sons and five grandchildren.

A service of thanksgiving will take place at Rushmere St Andrew Church on Monday, November 15, at noon.

n Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Noye? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

n Opinion – page 6