New bench is unveiled in dedication to Norman

Lilian Gibbins on the commemorative bench
Lilian Gibbins on the commemorative bench

A commemorative bench on Winkle Island has been dedicated in memory of a popular Old Town character.

Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Boyce, Lord of the Cinque Ports, unveiled the new seating on Sunday, August 10.

Norman, 62, of George Street, disappeared in August 2012 and his remains were discovered the following January by a dog walker outside Winchester, Hampshire.

He was last spotted speaking to a friend on Bexhill seafront, when he said he was camping up north’. His family reported him missing on September 4, 2012. But his body was discovered in woods four months later. Formal identification took several weeks.

An inquest held last October concluded with an open verdict, leaving the cause of his death shrouded in mystery.

Norman worked as a boatman for the fishermen for several years in the Old Town and was also heavily involved with the RNLI and Pirate Day. In June 2012 Norman took part in the Three Peaks Challenge over three days with his niece to help raise money for Charity for Kids, which collects funds to help sick children across 1066 Country.

Richard Stevens, vice-chairman of Hastings Winkle Club, said: “Norman played an active part in many of the town’s seasonal events including the beach concert. An appeal fund was set up in his name to pay for his funeral expenses and the fund’s trustees decided to use some of the money raised to pay for a bench in Norman’s name.

“His sister, Lilian Gibbins, was present when Lord Boyce unveiled the new seating on Winkle Island and said she was very pleased that Norman’s memory was being marked in this way.”