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Bury St Edmunds bids farewell to retiring tour guides



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Three tour guides who have served the Bury St Edmunds community for decades are retiring.

Brian Coley, John Marshall and Dee Sharpe recently met with Adrian Tindall, chair of Bury Tour Guides, who presented them with gifts in honour of their years of service.

Mr Marshall qualified for his 'Blue Badge' - authorising him to work as a tour guide - in 1985, while Mr Coley started out in the role in the mid-1990s.

Adrian Tindall (left) presents gifts to John Marshall, Dee Sharpe and Brian Coley. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides
Adrian Tindall (left) presents gifts to John Marshall, Dee Sharpe and Brian Coley. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides

Mrs Sharpe became a guide in 2009, following a long career in the civil service in London.

A spokesperson for Bury St Edmunds Tour Guides described the three as 'well-known' personalities.

Recalling his early days in the role, Mr Coley said: "I was attracted to guiding as I had developed a love of the town and its history, and of history in general.

"The communication skills I had developed during my working life also stood me in good stead.

"The training course was arduous. It comprised of three sections with a written examination after each of the first two and a practical examination at the end of the course.

"I was successful and was awarded my Blue Badge as a qualified guide for East Anglia.

"I have enjoyed my time as a guide. Learning is a continuous process of reading, research and attending lectures."

Work as a tour guide involved extensive use of the town archives and research into the history of Bury.

Mr Marshall said: "The sub-zero evenings at the Records Office will never be forgotten!"

On the secrets to successful tour guiding, Mrs Sharpe said: "A good tour guide should love the place they guide in and demonstrate this to their customers. They should be able to educate and entertain."

Mr Marshall also weighed in: "My thoughts on guiding around a town are that you should try to tell a story about the growth - and changes that have occurred over the centuries and can be seen.

"The working and social lives of the inhabitants are mightily important and to an extent are evidenced by what is in front of you as you walk about."