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Charting the key moments of life

PUBLISHED: 16:44 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:12 03 July 2010

A MAN who registered tens of thousands of births, marriages and deaths in the Great Yarmouth area has laid down his fountain pen for the last time.

Registrar at the Ferryside Register Office, Trevor Nicholls, retired last week after almost 43 years.

A MAN who registered tens of thousands of births, marriages and deaths in the Great Yarmouth area has laid down his fountain pen for the last time.

Registrar at the Ferryside Register Office, Trevor Nicholls, retired last week after almost 43 years.

Mr Nicholls, 59, revealed that he has registered 5,543 marriages, 36,000 births and the same number of deaths - meeting around 100,000 people since he joined the service at the tender age of 16.

Mr Nicholls recalled how first names have changed over the past four decades and how they follow trends, with Kylie being popular in the 1980s and boys' names such as Wayne and Jack coming round again.

But he admitted there have been some unusual names that he'd be forgiven for doing a double-take when he first heard them.

He said: “Some of the names today, I don't recognise. I assume they are either pop stars or footballers.

“I had one Astraflash in the 1960s, he'd be about 40 now, and in the 1970s we had a Che Guevara.

“I have to say that I have lost count of the number of babies I have heard crying during my work. Where weddings are concerned, they're rather a private matter but my predecessor once had Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We see and hear it all.”

Mr Nicholls added there had been a change in attitudes where weddings were concerned, particularly since 1994 when civil weddings could be held in hotels or other licensed places. During the 1960s and 70s there other reasons why people chose a registry office: either they were famous, or pregnant.

He said: “There is no stigma attached to that now. Our numbers soared at the time but overall marriages have been in decline, backing the national trend. Originally there would have been about eight or nine marriages each Saturday, now there are usually four. This trend is continuing too.”

He added: “I have never been tempted get married myself.”

Mr Nicholls was one of the founding students at the Open University when it started in 1971 and his first course was in humanities and social services. He graduated in 1974 and said the course had helped him immensely in understanding people.

He is a classical music fan and is planning a visit to the United States, and particularly West Virginia, to pursue his interest in American history.

A farewell party was held for him by colleagues and Mr Nicholls added that life was full of “what ifs” and “maybes”, but one thing was for certain, he was going to enjoy his retirement.

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