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Tributes to Robert O’Kane from Thetford

PUBLISHED: 13:27 30 March 2012

Following the death of well known Thetford resident, Robert 'Rab' O'Kane, family and friends pay tribute to him. Kath Sanford. Kath is pictured with Frances O'Kane, Robert's widow.

Following the death of well known Thetford resident, Robert 'Rab' O'Kane, family and friends pay tribute to him. Kath Sanford. Kath is pictured with Frances O'Kane, Robert's widow.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

Tributes have been paid to a popular community stalwart known for continuously putting others first.

Robert “Rab” O’Kane, 68, was a member of several Thetford groups, and was well-known for his work with ex-servicemen and their families.

As chairman of the Royal British Legion, case worker and division secretary of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), and his involvement with the Navy Association in Croxton and RAF Honington In-Service Committee, Mr O’Kane was a dedicated member of the community.

Having lived in Thetford for more than 30 years with his wife Frances, 66, Mr O’Kane, who had two children and four grandchildren, first became involved as a member of the Territorial Army Emergency Reserves, or the Ever Readies as they were known, in his home town of Glasgow.

Mrs O’Kane, of Winchester Way, Thetford, said: “He was a strict father but a loving father and he loved his grandchildren.

“He was always putting others first and my grandson can testify to that. My daughter and her two boys were up for a few days and the car was loaded and he got a call to visit someone and he said he’d be back as soon as he could. It wasn’t the first time but we were used to it.”

Mr O’Kane, who was unable to work following an accident in 1976, died in his sleep in his home town of Glasgow on December 3, of a heart attack.

Close friend and neighbour, Kath Sanford, 61, of Winchester Way, Thetford, who is retired, said: “He was so dedicated to his work and though he wan an ill man he always did things for others.

“I knew times when he’d be ill in bed and get a call and he’d drag himself out of bed and go out to do his case work.

“I think he deserves media attention, not just for his wife but for his children and grandchildren.”

His funeral was held at St Cuthbert’s Church, Thetford, on December 13 with donations sent to the British Heart Foundation and the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.


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