Tributes paid to Newquay's first mayor, 'Stormin' Norman Thompson
THE WIFE and daughter of Newquay's first mayor, Norman Thompson, have paid tribute to a caring family man who never stopped fighting for the town he loved.
Mr Thompson, who formed the resort's first council in 1985, died peacefully in his sleep last Sunday at his home close to Trenance Boating Lake, aged 87.
Among his political achievements he fought against the controversial Gannel link road, petitioned for a new swimming pool at Trenance and forged a successful twinning link with French town Dinard.
Never afraid to ruffle feathers in his continuing crusade to "put a smile on the face of Newquay", Mr Thompson earned himself the nickname 'Stormin Norman' among his peers.
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He served on Newquay Town Council for 26 years, and only stood down last year to give newcomers a chance to engage with local politics.
Wife Thelma, 86, and daughter Deborah Hopkinson, 59, told the Cornish Guardian there had "never been a dull moment" in Mr Thompson's life.
Mrs Thompson said: "He always made us laugh. The trouble was he was too outspoken and made himself very unpopular at times. But it was like water off a duck's back to him. He was all for Newquay; he loved this town and this area. He always said Newquay was on the up, that Newquay had a future. When everyone was talking about doom and gloom and grumbling, he didn't believe it."
Mrs Hopkinson added: "He didn't believe in wasting his life. He used to say 'it's no good moaning if you're not prepared to put your oar in and do something about it'. So he used to do something about it. People would call up with problems and he would just grab the bull by the horns."
As a BT engineer Mr Thompson, who had four children, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren, first moved to Cornwall in 1948 to install an automatic telephone exchange in Penzance.
He married the love of his life, Thelma, and the couple, originally from Shropshire, lived in Treskillard before later moving to St Ives, St Columb and finally to Newquay, where they spent the last 37 years. He retired aged 60, after running the telephone exchange on Hilgrove Road.
Mr Thompson became involved in politics following the public backlash against plans for the Gannel link road in the Eighties.
"Everyone was up in arms; people were going mad about it," said Mrs Thompson. "Norman called a town meeting and we couldn't get everyone in it was so busy."
Realising the town needed its own voice, he went about forming a parish council that quickly became a town council, of which he was mayor for three years.
At around the same time, Mr Thompson met Ron Frankel, the British consul in Dinard, and the pair set up a twinning link between the two towns. Mr Thompson threw himself into the project, learning French with the help of Tretherras's head of languages.
Paying tribute to Mr Thompson, Francoise Pichot, head of the mayor's cabinet in Dinard, said: "We are very sorry that Mr Thompson passed away and we have so many good memories about him."
A lover of bowls, swimming, surfing and cycling, Mr Thompson liked to keep himself fit.
Mrs Hopkinson said: "Until four years ago he would grab his wooden board and cycle up to the headland (at north Fistral). He would go for a surf then a swim in the outdoor pool at the Headland Hotel before treating himself to a crab sandwich. He was very fit.
"He loved the boating lake and the harbour too. He liked to swim down at the harbour. We used to go down there as a family and have lunch on North Quay."
Mrs Thompson, who would have been married to Mr Thompson 65 years this Christmas, said: "We've had a very happy time in Cornwall and met a lot of friends. A lot of people will miss Norman."
Mr Thompson's funeral will take place on Monday, October 28, at the Trelawney Chapel, at Penmount Crematorium near Truro.