Tributes paid to community stalwart Eddie Holden

Eddie Holden

Eddie Holden - Credit: Archant

Respected community figure and former paratrooper Eddie Holden has died.

Mr Holden, who lived in Little Downham, died on Thursday (May 7) aged 88, after being taken ill.

Mr Holden, a regular letter writer and Ely Standard correspondent, is survived by his wife, Mary, two daughters, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Mr Holden was born in the hamlet of Mangreen, near Norwich, and spent his infancy in Caistor St Edmund and Markshall, in Norfolk.

Upon leaving school, and with the Second World War in full swing, Mr Holden started as an apprentice coachbuilder with H.E Taylor and Sons, of Cringleford.

When the bombing started in Norwich, Mr Holden volunteered as a messenger with the Civil Defence Corp, which was headed up by his local vicar.

At the age of 17, Mr Holden was served with his call up papers and, after basic training, was accepted into the newly-formed Parachute Regiment.

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He was stationed in India and saw action against the Japanese during the Burma campaign. After the war, he served in Palestine before being de-mobbed.

He married in 1950 before settling in Ely.

Paying tribute, David Middleton said: “To some people, who didn’t agree with what he said, he was a pain in the buttocks. To those who knew him, or those who stopped and thought about what he said or wrote, they realised he was usually telling the truth.

“The truth as seen through the eyes of someone subjected to discipline, not the thrashing type, but instilled in other ways, by parents, instilled by service life and then by respect for the law and self discipline. Something perhaps we should all be more aware of. Thanks Eddie for bringing some light relief and conversation points to our lives. Rest in Peace.”

Councillor Mike Rouse said: “He was such an enthusiast for everything that was happening in Ely. He loved writing his letters and as an ex-paratrooper he had come under worse fire than receiving a critical response from someone.

“To meet him in Ely was always to finish up with a good laugh whether we agreed or disagreed. His zest for life was infectious. We will all miss him.”

And Lucy Goodfellow said: “Eddie was my partner in crime when it came to letter writing and whenever I spoke with him he would say to me ‘you keep on writing your letter gal, stir em up a bit’, in his fen accent.

“Ok he may have ruffled a few feathers with his forthright opinions but he loved to stir things up and he enjoyed writing his letters. I, for one, will miss him, he was a true character and a lovely gentleman.”