Tributes to farmer who sold home to help those in need

Gordon Rudge with his wife Norma.

Gordon Rudge with his wife Norma. - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a former turkey farmer who sold his Norfolk home and moved to the Phillipines so he could dedicate his later life to helping educate children living in poverty.

Gordon Rudge was well-known in the South Norfolk farming community after a lifetime spent in the poultry and turkey businesses.

But around five or six years ago, a visit to the Phillipines changed the devoted Christian's life forever.

Shocked by the plight of village children 100 miles north of Manila, in the Pangasinan Province, Mr Rudge said: 'We must do something to help them.'

So when he returned, he and Hethersett-based Chris Meakings came up with the idea of setting up the Tomana Children's Trust in aid of village children's education.

Having learned catering in his youth as a cook with the Irish Guards, Mr Rudge and his Filipino wife Norma – who he married after his previous wife, Pamela, died in 2004 – launched summer barbecues and curry events at their home in School Lane, Little Melton to raise crucial funds. The events became famous in the area, with up to 100 people attending.

However Mr Rudge, who lived at the Mill House in Scole for many years, had even bigger plans.

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He and his wife sold their home in September last year so they could spend time helping people in the country.

Son Simon Rudge, 51, who lives in Diss, said: 'He went to use the rest of his time to do good. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

'He was a kind person who, especially later in life, looked to help people.

'He made that very much his life in later years.'

He died in his sleep last Saturday, two days after spending some time in hospital in Manila.

The exact cause of his death is not yet known but his family said he had been suffering with heart problems.

He was just a few weeks short of his 81st birthday.

The great-grandfather's funeral is due to be held in the Phillipines on Saturday, with a memorial service due to take place at the Eternity Christian Centre, Earlham – where he and Norma were married – later in the year.

Mr Meakings, who now chairs the Tomana Children's Trust, said Mr Rudge became a father figure to scores of Filipino children and their families.

Mr Rudge leaves behind five sons – Paul, Perry, Patrick, Simon and Stewart.

Pay tribute to Gordon Rudge by writing, giving your full contact details, to: Mercury Letters, 26 Mere Street, Diss IP22 4AD or email