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Diss Corn Hall staff in shock after death of volunteer Paul

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The Corn Hall in Diss has paid tribute to one of its longest-serving volunteers, who died suddenly on April 8, aged 56.

Paul Howling, from Roydon, was one of the first people to volunteer at the St Nicholas Street venue when it opened in 2010 and, within a year, he was offered the role of stewarding co-ordinator, a role he kept until it had to suspend activities in March, due to coronavirus.

Programme manager Angela Sykes said: “All of us involved with the Corn Hall are heartbroken by this news.

Paul Howling died at his Roydon home on April 8, aged 56.
Paul Howling died at his Roydon home on April 8, aged 56.

“Paul was such an integral part of everything we did and was always there on hand to support us when we needed it most.

“We are all struggling to come to terms with his loss – I know I am.

“There will be no replacing him, that’s for sure. He was one of a kind and I feel blessed to have known him and worked with him.”

Mr Howling was responsible for many of the pre-show steward briefings, organising as many as 70 volunteers to ensure that audiences at the Corn Hall had the safest show night experiences possible.

Ms Sykes said: “He trained all of our stewards to make sure that they knew what to do in an emergency.

“If there was any sort of incident or problem, Paul was the person you wanted to have by your side.

“His calm, decisive and systematic response was always a huge support to staff, volunteers and customers.”

Ms Sykes praised Mr Howling’s dedication in undertaking these essential tasks as extraordinary, adding that he generously gave up huge amounts of his time, fitting this work around his full-time job at Cherry Lane Garden Centre in Pulham Market.

Before this he was open ground manager at Howard Nurseries in Bury Road, Diss, where he was given a long service award for 25 years of work at the site in 2011.

Ms Sykes said: “From its first beginnings, Paul was right at the heart of the organisation and of the Corn Hall family. He will be deeply missed by all of us, professionally and personally.”

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