Tribute paid to 'good old boy' who launched business with £17

Graham Thompson

Graham Thompson - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The wife of a successful auto businessman who started out with just £17 in his pocket ahead of opening three garages has paid tribute to her "good old boy”. 

Freddie Thompson, 75, described her husband, Graham, as a hard-working “character” who always helped others. 

The couple, who married 14 years ago, had been together for more than 30 years after meeting when Mrs Thompson was the manager of the Blue Boar pub in Sprowston.

Mr Thompson had opened his first garage next door, and would open two more, including one in Lowestoft, over the following years.

Graham Thompson

Graham Thompson - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

She said: “He was quite a character. His passing has affected many people.

“He was such a kind, genuine person and was an all-round good old boy.” 

Born in Norwich in 1947, he passed his driving test first time on his 17th birthday, and subsequently went on to complete an apprenticeship at Busseys Ford in the city. 

Graham Thompson

Graham Thompson - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

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Eventually, with just £17 in his pocket, he went into business on his own. He first began working in a double lock-up garage in Costessey before opening Blue Boar Garage in Sprowston. He went on to open two others, one more in the city and another in Lowestoft. 

Mrs Thompson added: “He did it all through hard work.” 

Graham Thompson, with a programme from the day Norwich City took on England's 1966 squad. Picture: D

Graham Thompson, with a programme from the day Norwich City took on England's 1966 squad. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

Mr Thompson suffered with ill health following his first heart attack in his 40s but continued to help others when he could.

After retiring at 50, he volunteered with the Royal Voluntary Service at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), serving patients' food via the trolley service. 

Graham Thompson

Graham Thompson - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

He was invited to Buckingham Palace where he was commended for his fundraising efforts.  

Mrs Thompson added: “We had some wonderful years together. He protected me so much, he did all the cooking – he loved his food. He could also always fix things and he did everything for everyone, from mowing the neighbours’ lawn to house and dog sitting." 

Mr Thompson died suddenly with Covid at the NNUH on October 26, 2021. He was aged 74. 

He was a loving dad to Claire and son-in-law Danny, beloved grandad to Chloe and Annie, and a much-loved stepdad to Jamie.  

A celebration of his life will be held at St Faith's Crematorium on Thursday, November 25 at 11.45am. Donations are being collected for the for NNUH Charity via Allcock Family Funeral Services.

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