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Leading mason dies

PUBLISHED: 16:14 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:45 03 July 2010

PROMINENT Norfolk figure Geoffrey Dicker, who combined public service with enthusiastic support for numerous charitable causes, has died aged 88.

Col Dicker was a dynamic leader of Norfolk's 4,000 freemasons for several years and effectively dragged the reclusive organisation into the public gaze.

PROMINENT Norfolk figure Geoffrey Dicker, who combined public service with enthusiastic support for numerous charitable causes, has died aged 88.

Col Dicker was a dynamic leader of Norfolk's 4,000 freemasons for several years and effectively dragged the reclusive organisation into the public gaze.

As the provincial grand master for 15 years until retiring on his 75th birthday on July 20, 1995, he was an untiring advocate for freemasonry.

Under his watch and in a further radical step, he also “encouraged” fellow lodge members to support non-masonic causes, which represented a major shift of emphasis and policy.

He followed the family tradition in 1963 and became senior partner of accountancy firm Lovewell Blake, a position also held by his father Arthur and his son Christopher 35 years later.

Geoffrey Seymour Hamilton Dicker was Norfolk born and bred and was educated at Haileybury and then King's College, Cambridge, before enlisting in the Royal Corps of Signals in 1940. The following year, he was commissioned into the 6th Armoured Division Signals, serving throughout the North African campaign with the First Army and later in Italy. He was made an MBE and mentioned in dispatches.

In 1946, the then Major Dicker was demobbed and joined the Yarmouth office of Lovewell Blake, qualifying as a chartered accountant four years later. He became senior partner in 1963 and retired 20 years later, having seen the firm expand its horizons considerably.

He joined the Territorial Army in 1948 and held four commands before becoming honorary colonel of 54 (East Anglian) Signals Regiment TA in 1960. He had received the Territorial Decoration in 1953.

In 1970, he became the first non-regular soldier to be appointed a colonel-commandant in the Royal Signals. In that year he was a member of the 20-strong Territorial Army Council, led by the Duke of Norfolk, who toured the United States as guests of the National Guard. He visited the White House and the site of the manned spacecraft centre at Houston, Texas.

In 1977, he became chairman of the UK Reserve Forces Association.

He made time outside his TA duties for his many other interests and was “gazetted” as a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk in April 1963. He was an aide-de-camp to the Queen for five years from 1965 and in the same year was advanced to CBE.

A former president of the East Anglian Society of Chartered Accountants, he enjoyed recreational sailing and was a former commodore of both the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club and the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club.

In local affairs, he was a former president and former chairman of the Broads Society and was chairman of the parish council at Brundall, where he lived in his final years. He was president of Yarmouth Conservative Association.

Col Dicker was a great supporter and contributor to the University of East Anglia, becoming a member of the council in 1970 and then, six years later, treasurer. After serving as vice-chairman for a number of years, he became pro-chancellor in October 1984, and then chairman of the UEA's Council. He was awarded a honorary degree in civil law.

He was chairman of the governors of the former Runton Hill School near Cromer and chairman of the Eastern Counties board of the Eagle Star insurance company.

Col Dicker also found time to write a detailed family history. It was published and entitled The Family Face - A History of the Dicker Family.

His wife Josephine (Fifi) died before him. He leaves his son Christopher and daughter Libby and five grandchildren. A private funeral will be held next week. A memorial service at Norwich Cathedral will be held on Friday, June 12 (11.30am).

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