Final farewell for Great Yarmouth family man and rugby fan

RUGBY friends and family turned out in force to bid a final farewell to popular local character James Fogg.

The 35-year-old was well known for his involvement with Broadland-Great Yarmouth Rugby Football Club and as a devoted family man.

His funeral was held on Thursday at Gorleston Crematorium. Club mates were among the mourners and helped to carry the bamboo coffin.

He leaves a widow, Teresa, and six-year-old son Ashley.

Brother-in-law Adam Lawes said the family were touched by the amount of people – around 120 – who came to pay their respects, particularly neighbours from Olive Road in Cobholm one of whom got out his push-bike for the thigh-sapping round trip.

Family flowers included the name James spelled in white flowers with blue ribbon and a big red cross from only child James’ parents, Don and Dorothy Fogg, who live in Lancashire and were too ill to attend.

The Rugby Club and Caesars Bar, where James worked as a handyman, both sent floral tributes in the shape of rugby balls.

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Mr Lawes said the funeral, staged in bright sunshine, had gone as well as could be expected with some lovely tributes.

The family appreciate the effort by so many to be at the funeral and were particularly touched by the appearance of people who had read about James in the paper and still held him dear – even though he hadn’t been in their lives more recently.

Mr Lawes was also keen to thank Caesars for putting on the wake and holding a collection for Teresa and Ashley.

A couple of big, burly rugby lads had intended to stand up and say a few words but in the end were ambushed by emotion and unable to go through with it, which was “quite amazing”, he added.

James, who hailed from Oldham but had lived in Great Yarmouth for over 10 years, died suddenly overnight on April 29 while watching TV.

His body was found in the morning by his wife and son – as if asleep and showing no sign of discomfort or struggle.

He was described by Asa Morrison, club chairman, as a fiercely competitive player on the pitch but “a gentle giant” off it, who never had a bad word to say about anyone.

Mr Fogg met his wife 14 years ago but the couple only married last year and were due to celebrate their first anniversary next month. His life revolved around his family and in-laws, enjoying many happy holidays abroad together. He had already packed his suitcase for this year’s jaunt to Turkey and was dancing around in excited anticipation just hours before he died.

He was buried in his Caesars Rugby shirt. Music at the service included Michael Buble’s Everything, Fragile by Sting, and finally Taio Cruz’s Dynamite – an upbeat anthem he would have loved.