THE founder of the global network of places named Norfolk or Norwich has died in England, aged 85. Derek Bickford-Smith established the Norfolk and Norwich World Family 20 years ago, eventually linking up about 60 communities around the world, including New Norfolk and Norfolk Island.
Norwich is the principal city of the county of Norfolk in England and both names have been carried around the world. In 1991 Mr Bickford-Smith came up with the idea of identifying and linking communities with Norfolk and Norwich connections. In 1996 the first world family gathering was held in Norwich, England. The next was on Norfolk Island in 2000, followed by Norfolk County in Ontario, Canada, in 2006. The 2008 gathering was held here in New Norfolk to coincide with the town’s bicentenary. New Norfolk was represented at all four gatherings and is a founding member of the group.
Over the last two decades, he travelled more than four million kilometres visiting Norfolk/Norwich communities and addressing dozens of meetings on his globe-trotting mission. In 2004 he published the book Norfolk and Norwich World Family and in 2007 he sent a Norfolk and Norwich World Family plaque to Buckingham Palace.
He is survived by this wife Huguette, five children and five grandchildren.