Obituary: Salesman who provided 36,000 eggs and brought home a goat

Hit the road: Nevil Buck was a sales representative for Coopers for 50 years

Hit the road: Nevil Buck was a sales representative for Coopers for 50 years - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The life of Nevil Buck was characterised by a love of animals. For years, he kept chickens and totted up the eggs he gave to friends and neighbours, recording a total of more than 36,000.

But not all his animal ventures were so successful. On one occasion, he brought home a goat and converted his garden shed into a barn, cutting the door in half. Within minutes the animal had escaped from its confines.

Such tales get to the heart of a man who became known for his easy and friendly patter as well as his kind nature.

It was his long-serving career at Coopers Ironmongers in Great Yarmouth that cemented many of his friendships over the years, a job that saw him and his father rack up an impressive 100 years of service between them. 

Leonard Nevil Buck was born in Belton on January 11, 1929. Following a short spell living in Bradwell, based in north Suffolk at the time, at the age of four, his parents moved to a new-build house on Hawkins Avenue, in the New Town area of Yarmouth.

Mr Buck attended the town’s Alderman Swindell Primary School, the Priory school, then Great Yarmouth Grammar School.

It was at this time, during the Second World War, he was evacuated with his mother and brother, Jack, to Burton Latimer in Northamptonshire, but not before watching the moment when bombers flew over the seaside town. 

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He left school aged 14 and it was said that he “could not wait to get out”. 

Happy times: Nevil Buck (right) with his wife Tessa, enjoyed special times together

Happy times: Nevil Buck (right) with his wife Tessa, enjoyed special times together - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

He completed his National Service with the Royal Air Force and was stationed at Marham, in west Norfolk. 

Mr Buck soon landed his first – and only – job. He was recruited as an apprentice at Coopers Ironmongers, following in the footsteps of his father, Leonard Fredrick Charles Buck. 

They both celebrated long and successful careers there, each of them reaching 50 years of service totally an outstanding century of work between them. 

Mr Buck worked his way up the ranks to manager and buyer. Following his father’s retirement in 1970, he was given the opportunity to get out on the road as a sales representative. For the next 25 years, he became very well known by many of the local builders, tradesmen, boatyards, and farmers, covering the northern area of Yarmouth. 

His son, Nigel Buck, explained why it was a good role for his dad. 

“Many of his customers became good friends over the years,” he said. “Mainly because Dad was very good at talking to people.  

“Dad could start a conversation with anyone. At some point, he would find a mutual subject or person they both knew and go from there.  

“He was interested in people, had a very polite manner, and was well-liked and respected. He really enjoyed his job too.” 

A man of the people: Nevil Buck was loved and respected by many people due to his wonderful conversational talents

A man of the people: Nevil Buck was loved and respected by many people due to his wonderful conversational talents - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

He retired on January 11, 1994, on his 65th birthday and was proud of being interviewed by BBC Radio Norfolk’s Keith Skipper about his future plan, as well as appearing in the Great Yarmouth Mercury. 

He married his late-wife Tessa Myall on March 12, 1958. The year before, he had purchased a plot of land on Reynolds Avenue, Caister, and had a bungalow built there. On returning from their honeymoon, the couple moved into the bungalow and remained there. 

Together they had three children; son Nigel (1960), and daughters Jacqui (1967) and Michelle (1970). 

Mr Buck was very practical and a keen gardener and grew different fruit and vegetables. 

He also kept chickens and supplied most of the neighbours and family with fresh eggs during five years in the 1970s. 

Nigel added: “He was always proud to remind us all he produced over 36,000 eggs over that time. He has a little book labelled “chickens” with numbers for every day... 'eight eggs, twelve eggs, nine eggs'. He totalled them at the end and there were 36,229. 

“He even had a goat for a few weeks but that was a handful and had to go. He would often come back with things – and one day he came back with this goat. He converted the shed into a barn, cutting the door in half, and filled it with hay. Thirty seconds later the goat got out, so that was a waste of time. The door still remains in half to this day. 

“He also returned home with a cockerel once, almost bought a donkey, and bred bantam chicks. We were surrounded by animals over the years.” 

All smiles: Nevil Buck (right) with his wife Tessa

All smiles: Nevil Buck (right) with his wife Tessa - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Mr Buck enjoyed playing bowls, especially during his retirement, and played for local clubs Galliards and Fleggburgh Private Bowls Club. He also made a bowling green in his back garden to enjoy games with friends on Saturdays. 

This was in addition to the nine-hole putting course there too. 

Nigel added: “Mum and Dad, they love their home and garden and spent many happy times there. They never went abroad, and instead enjoyed holidays in Wales and Scotland.  

“They were family people and did everything together. 

“Dad was honest, hard-working, and taught us right from wrong. He was always there for us.” 

Mr Buck died aged 93 on January 21st following a brief period in hospital. His funeral took place at Caister earlier this month. As well as his children, he leaves behind seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.