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Final chapter for Newmarket history man Rod Vincent

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Tributes have been paid to local historian and author Rod Vincent, who has died aged 93.

Mr Vincent was best known in Newmarket for his work with the town’s local history society.

“He built our website from scratch and he had added many interesting local history features and articles over the years,” said society chairman Sandra Easom.

Rodney Vincent (33553756)
Rodney Vincent (33553756)

“He also dealt ably with the many national and international local history queries that the website received. He was very good at fielding the diverse enquiries to the right people to deal with them. He was a great team player and brought a lot of credit to the society in this and many other ways.”

Born in Great Gransden, near Cambridge, Mr Vincent moved to Wood Ditton in 1934 when he was seven and his parents took over the the village shop and sub post office. There, he spent some of the most influential years of his life including the war years. Cherished memories of his life in the village stayed with him and in 1996 he published ‘A Tanner Will Do’, bringing those recollections to a wider public.

“In many ways life was so much simpler and we were not constantly exposed to the pressures of today,” he said at the time. “Although the book features the village of Wood Ditton it could be about almost any East Anglian village of the period. We were all children of the times we lived in.”

In 1952 he moved to nearby Lode and married his wife Audrey and they moved to Royston. He worked as eastern region service manager for British Gas, and later area manager for south Hertfordshire. His job took him around the region from Royston to Berkhamstead until after he took early retirement the couple settled in Stuntney, near Ely, where they lived for the past 21 years.

Mr Vincent’s community work included 10 years working as a volunteer for the Welney Wildlife and Wetlands Trust, running the fund-raising Friends group as well as getting involved in physical work.

It was there, according to Audrey, ‘he taught himself all about computers’, a skill he was to put to good use with the Newmarket Local History Society for which he set up a website.

His ‘outstanding’ volunteer work was officially recognised in 2008 when he received a Cambridge and Peterborough community life award.

“He had been suffering with heart problems for a couple of years and in the last year had got very weak and lost a lot of his energy,” said Audrey.

He died at home on Tuesday, April 7.

He also leaves two daughters Clarissa and Jo and two granddaughters.