Date finalised for memorial service to Norfolk farmer and charity stalwart Gordon Rudge

Gordon Rudge with his wife Norma.

Gordon Rudge with his wife Norma. - Credit: Archant

A memorial service is to be held next week so people can pay their tributes to a Norfolk turkey farmer who sold his home so he could dedicate his later life to helping children living in poverty in the Phillipines.

Gordon Rudge, who was well-known in the South Norfolk farming community after a lifetime spent in the poultry and turkey sectors, died in his sleep earlier this month, just a few days short of hs 81st birthday.

His death has prompted a wide range of tributes from people who remembered his legendary fund-raising 'gourmet barbeques', held at his home in School Lane, Little Melton to raise funds for the Tomana Children's Trust.

Mr Rudge and friend Chris Meakings came up with the idea of setting up the trust after Mr Rudge was shocked by the plight of chilren 100 miles north of Manila, in the Pangasinan Province, on a visit to the Phillipines five or six years ago.

However he wanted to do more - so he and his Filipino wife Norma sold their home in September last year so they could spend more time helping people in the country.

Son Simon Rudge, 51, said: 'He went to use the rest of his time to do good.

'Unfortunately, it was not to be.'

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The memorial service will take place at 7.30pm next Wednesday, June 4, at the Eternity Christian Centre in Earlham Green Lane, Norwich, where Mr Rudge and Norma were married in 2004.

Senior Pastor Paddy Venner said: 'The two of them set an example for all of us in catching a vision late in life to spend the rest of their days helping children in the need in the Philippines.

'Their fund-raising barbecues were part of our church life - and their parenting of many younger people in our church was an example to us all.'

Mr Meakings added: 'He had such a big heart, showing kindness to a lot of people.

'He worked incredibly hard and also motivated others to help him.'

The great-grandfather's funeral was held in the Phillipines last Saturday.

As well as living in Little Melton, Mr Rudge had lived in Mill House, Scole for many years.

n Pay tribute to Gordon Rudge by writing, giving your full contact details, to: Mercury Letters, 26 Mere Street, Diss IP22 4AD or email