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Stamp maker George dies, aged 103

PUBLISHED: 10:56 25 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:40 14 July 2010

George Gigg pictured in 1989.

George Gigg pictured in 1989.

After a 45-year career in the printing industry in Norwich, George Gigg, of Wymondham, who has died suddenly aged 103, started his own business on the eve of his 60th birthday.

AFTER a 45-year career in the printing industry in Norwich, George Gigg, of Wymondham, who has died suddenly aged 103, started his own business on the

eve of his 60th

birthday.

He then went on to work for another 25 years, finally retiring as managing director at the age of 84, leaving his children to run the thriving family business.

Mr Gigg, who started his own business when most would have been looking to retirement, worked about 60 hours a week, starting at 7am and only taking four days' holiday a year. A keen gardener at his former home at Beetley, near Dereham, he lived in Wymondham for many years and was still busy in his garden until about a year ago.

After leaving school in his native Somerset aged 13, he worked for a year on a farm before becoming an apprentice printer and compositor on a weekly newspaper in north Devon. Then he moved to Derby before joining the printing department of Norwich's leading clothing manufac-turer, FW Harmer, in

1936.

He became head of the firm's printing department but became frustrated at delays in ordering stationery including rubber stamps. So, at the age of 59, he quit, bought a second-hand press and started making rubber stamps in the garage of his home at 1, Waterloo Park Avenue, Norwich. He started with a few hundred pounds, helped by his son, Roland, and his late wife, Stella.

By 1965, he was able to expand and moved further down Cromer Road to a former fish and chip shop in Eade Road, now the headquarters of the business. Later he was joined by his oldest son, Tony, who is now the company president.

"We were the first stamp company in East Anglia and I started by going around all the big companies in the area selling our product on speed of availability," the founder said in June 1987 when about a million stamps were being made each year. "We've never employed any representatives and we still have most of our big customers," he added.

Mr Gigg decided to retire in September 1989 confident that the business was running smoothly. "What I might miss is getting up at 6am on a cold February morning to drive 20 miles to work," he added.

Stamps Direct, which has grown into a national concern and employs 22 staff, also has branches at Cambridge and Lincoln.

A widower, he leaves five children - one daughter Angela predeceased - 31 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren.

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