Obituary: Village stalwart made his mark as choirmaster, cricketer and councillor

Duncan Pigg

Well-known Hethersett resident Duncan Pigg has died aged 95 - Credit: Jenny Pigg

Residents of a Norfolk village are mourning but also celebrating the long life of a man who brought music into their lives and whose contribution to the local community was recognised with a national award. 

Duncan Pigg, who died just a few days short of his 96th birthday, gave decades of unstinting service to Hethersett in many different capacities that encompassed religion, the arts and sport. He was awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2013 New Year Honours list. 

Mr Pigg was born in Norwich in April 1926 and attended Avenue Road School and then Norwich School as a cathedral chorister, before leaving at the age of 15. He moved to Hethersett with his mother to live in a house on Kett’s Oak which became his home for the rest of his life.  

As a youngster, he was a member of local youth clubs where his work within the community began when he and a number of friends tried to raise funds to buy a tank for use by British troops in the Second World War.  

Their efforts fell far short but it did set Duncan on a course that would see him become a leading light in the village and serve for many years on Hethersett Parish Council, as well as the village’s representative on South Norfolk District Council.  

Mr Pigg gave over 40 years’ service to St Remigius Church as choirmaster and he also introduced an annual pantomime for the village in 1970. He went on to produce and write pantos for over 40 years during which time over £80,000 was raised for various charities.  

He was a churchwarden and lay reader for almost 60 years at the parish church and an honorary vice-president of Hethersett and Tas Valley Cricket Club - playing hundreds of games for the club as a canny spin bowler.  

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Formerly a governor at Hethersett High School and Hethersett Woodside Infants and Nursery School, he was also a supporter of Wymondham Air Training Corps. Over 200 family members and friends came together to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2016 with a concert by the Hellesdon and Sprowston Brass band.  

On that evening, friend John Head paid tribute to him, saying: “Duncan has been the bedrock for so many things in Hethersett that we enjoy today.”  

In response, Mr Pigg referred to his “wonderful life” which he said was built on four main factors – his job, his church, his village and the support of his wife Jenny, whom he married in 1983. He said: “I have been very lucky to have been involved in so many good things.” 

He was employed for most of his working life as an accountant and administrator in the NHS which included being secretary of Wayland Hospital and also working at St Andrew’s Hospital in Norwich and St Nicholas’ Hospital in Great Yarmouth, as well as at the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.  

He also had a short spell in the RAF towards the end of the Second World War when he saw service in the desert in Egypt.   

Mrs Pigg said: “Wherever he was, he was content. He loved life and people and he loved village life. He wanted to help people and make Hethersett a happy village.”  

Duncan and Jenny Pigg

Duncan and Jenny Pigg with the Olympic Torch ahead of London 2012 - Credit: Peter Steward

Rector of Hethersett, the Rev Derek McClean, added: “For decades, Duncan was an invaluable part of the life and worship of the parish of Hethersett. His contributions to village life are too numerous for words and his legacy of the annual panto, which he started, is but one of those legacies.  

“His is a huge loss to the life of Hethersett. He was much loved and will be deeply missed."  

A memorial service will be held in St Remigius Parish Church at 2pm on Friday, April 29 followed by burial in the churchyard.