Retired Diss pharmacist and councillor Stanley Kitchen has died at the age of 93.
Mr Kitchen, who opened the first Boots store in Diss, combined his professional life with a lifetime in public service. He joined Diss Urban District Council in the 1950s, continued when it became the Diss Town Council and also served a term as a South Norfolk councillor.
He still found time to be an active member of Diss Round Table and the 41 Club for former Tablers, and of Diss Rotary Club.
He was also a keen gardener at the family home on Roydon Road and a caravanner.
In later years he became a familiar sight in the town and at events on his mobility scooter. “He would not be kept in,” said his son, Adrian.
Mr Kitchen was born into a farming family at Stanground, near Peterborough. He was the youngest of seven children and turned his hand to every job on the farm except milking the cow... “He knew that he would always have that job, if he learned,” said his son.
On a market day trip to Peterborough he passed a chemist’s shop, where he saw the pharmacist at work which set him off on his chosen career.
It meant studying for a scholarship to grammar school which he achieved, although for a hard-pressed family it meant finding money for his uniform and bus fares, and matriculating before he could begin to study for his pharmacy studies. He achieved his ambition and after RAF service, became a relief dispenser.
He was working at Sudbury when a colleague, Ann, caught his eye. However, trouble followed when she was caught putting crystals down his neck and a disapproving manager moved him to King’s Lynn.
But an understanding senior manager thought they were suited and moved him back, and eventually they married. Their son was born in 1952. Mr Kitchen was manager of Boots of Bungay when the pharmacist due to open the branch at Diss pulled out and he was offered the job – provided he gave an instant answer.
Mrs Kitchen died 10 years ago and Mr Kitchen is survived by Adrian, a musician, town councillor and Rotarian. The funeral took place yesterday at St Mary’s Church, Diss, where Mr Kitchen was a worshipper.