July 1941 – March 2012
Where do I start?
Norman was 70 years old, and the eldest of 4. He has 3 sisters. He was a rail enthusiast and loved his steam trains. He wanted to be a train driver when he left school, but at the time of leaving, the steam was being phased out, and diesel trains were replacing them. Not having the same passion for diesel, Norman trained as a butcher, and learned the job from slaughter house to bake-house.
Norman had his own business firstly in Knaresborough, and then in Wrose, Bradford. He brought up 2 sons alone whilst running his business, and led an active life walking the Dales on a weekend, and doing karate twice a week, for which he earned a black belt. He encouraged both his sons to take up karate to be able to take care of themselves.
Norman came to Thailand first about 1993 with a friend who owned a bakery next door to him in Wrose. Together they talked about settling in Pattaya, and maybe opening a butchers/bakers here. Unfortunately, his friend was killed in Pattaya in a motorbike accident. Norman still had the dream to live here, and in 1999, he came out here with his then wife-to-be, Eileen, and they set up Yorkies, in Jomtien. A huge struggle at first getting the equipment through the port authorities, but finally the wait paid off, and Yorkies began to grow.
Norman and Eileen married at Yorkies on the 5th of May 2002, with a ceremony given by the monks, followed by a Christian blessing from the Rev John Bell, and Chinese firecrackers finishing the day. They then went home for a blessing in church for the whole family and friends to be with them. Norman used to say there couldn’t have been anyone else here mad enough to marry the same woman 3 times in the same year.
On the 10th anniversary of Yorkies, a celebration was planned, but instead of the usual party, it was decided to do something for Thailand, so a decision was made to raise money to build a new school in Yasothon, in the north of Thailand. 1.2 million baht was raised over 2 years, and on the 5th of December 2009, the completed school was handed over to the people of Yasothon.
In October 2010, Norman went back to the UK and underwent a gastric bypass to help him lose weight. Since his operation, he lost 43 kg.
On the 5th of December 2011, Yorkies moved from Jomtien Beach Road after trading there for 12 years, to their brand new location on Soi Chaiyapruek, opening a bright new restaurant with a function room upstairs, and shop attached. The production part of Yorkies, which is on the next block to the restaurant, was completed less than a week after Norman passed away. Sadly, he never saw his finished factory.
Norman passed away suddenly at home after a massive heart attack on Sunday the 11th of March. Always one for cracking jokes, and living life to the full, Yorkies will be a sadder and quieter place without him, but his legend, and Yorkies will definitely live on. A promise made to him by his wife Eileen, and his loyal staff of 12 years.
Norman leaves a wife, 2 sons, and 2 grandchildren. He also leaves a stepson, stepdaughter and 5 step-grandchildren, all who adored this kind and gentle man with a heart of gold.
RIP Norman, a true Yorkshire man.