The life of one of Norfolk’s “quintessential gentlemen” was remembered and celebrated today at a touching funeral service.

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Michael Falcon, a former High Sheriff of Norfolk and High Steward of Great Yarmouth for nearly 30 years, died last month aged 85 after a short illness.

Hundreds of mourners filled Yarmouth’s St Nicholas Minster to mark his life and career and to pay their respects to the man described as an “extraordinary force for good”.

Among the congregation was Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson, General The Lord Richard Dannatt, High Sheriff of Norfolk Henry Cator and Sir Timothy Colman, who led a tribute to his life-long friend.

Sir Timothy described his friend as a “truly lovely man” and told the congregation of his “humility, natural charm” and the twinkle in his eye.

He said: “It is not difficult to understand his success, one of his greatest strengths was his courage whenever he recognised the need for change.

“He would never dither and grasped the mettle, he was decisive - a true test of leadership.

“A whole range of voluntary organisations are indebted for his countless hours of support. He was, in short, a exemplary public figure.”

During the service the congregation heard readings from Mr Falcon’s sons, Michael and Andrew, and from three of his ten grandchildren.

They were also addressed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham James, who said Mr Falcon was a “wind of change” within Norfolk and the county owed him “so much”.

At the conclusion of the service his coffin - draped in Yarmouth’s heraldic coat of arms - was led out of the Minster by civic mace bearers and standard bearers from the Royal British Legion and TS Fearless.

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