Tribute to Needham Market stalwart

NEEDHAM Market residents have paid their respects for a community stalwart who was the oldest member of the Stowmarket Rotary Club.

NEEDHAM Market residents have paid their respects for a community stalwart who was the oldest member of the Stowmarket Rotary Club.

David Yorke, 85, passed away on December 17 and Needham Market Church was full for his funeral service.

Mr Yorke had a distinguished career in education in the north of England before retiring and contributing 25 years of voluntary service in Suffolk.

Fellow Rotarian David Hopgood today said Mr Yorke would be sorely missed.

He said: “He was a very kind gentleman who had time for everybody and was a great community worker.

“He will be greatly missed for all his community work.”

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Born at Morecambe and brought up in Leeds, Mr Yorke was headmaster at a school in Darlington until 1981 when he and his wife Pauline moved to Needham Market.

They helped with teas at the Museum of East Anglian Life, at Stowmarket, and after her death he opened a charity shop there, raising more than £40,000 during his time at the helm.

Piling an electric buggy high with donated merchandise, he would set up a stall outside the information centre regardless of weather. Before each Christmas he sold holly and mistletoe.

He also became chairman of the governors of Needham Market Middle School and for 21 years was one of a team distributing meals-on-wheels in the district.

Mr Yorke served Needham Market Horticultural Society as its president and secretary and was also active in the Royal British Legion.

As a Rotarian he accompanied disadvantaged children on visits to Pleasurewood Hills theme park, worked to make children aware of dangers in everyday life and every Christmas could be seen outside a supermarket collecting to make up parcels for the elderly and less fortunate.

Much of his time was given to bowling for the visually impaired, collecting people with sight difficulties and taking them to Stowmarket's indoor green, joining in the games and driving them home afterwards.

Mr Yorke's funeral was held on Friday ,conducted by Reverend Diane Williams with readings from Mr Yorke's son Michael and daughter-in-law Patricia.

Tributes were paid by his grandson Richard Yorke, former colleague Arthur Morgan and Stowmarket Rotarian David Hopgood.

The service was followed by interment in Needham cemetery and a reception in Stowmarket.

N Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Yorke? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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