Much-loved lollipop man and RAF veteran Bill passes, aged 94

By Nub News Reporter

21st Jan 2024 | Tributes

Bill Evans and pictured at RAF Bückeburg in 1948
Bill Evans and pictured at RAF Bückeburg in 1948

TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved Thurrock man whose death, aged 94, was reported this weekend.

William (Bill) Evans from Grays, was well known in the town where he served as a lollipop man for 20 years. He passed on Friday, 19 January at his home at Littlehampton on the south coast, where he moved to be with his family last year.

His recollections of the Berlin Airlift, which he took part in during his National Service, have also brought him to the attention of many and they can be viewed via this link.

Bill recalling his Berlin Airlift memories

Bill was an Aiircraftsman Mechanic and was stationed at the specially built RAF Bückeburg near Bad Eilsen, south of Hanover during the operation which took place from June 1948 to May 1949. The Soviet Union blockaded the western part of Berlin which controlled by the United States, United Kingdom and France and was effectively an island in the middle of East Germany which was occupied by Soviet forces.

The western allies responded by airlifting food and fuel to the landlocked part of the city they controlled from airbases in western Germany. After just under a year, the Soviet Union lifted the blockade.

Bill was a member of the Berlin Airlift Association which said it was saddened to learn of his death and added: "Like the other veterans, Bill will be missed."

He will also be remembered by generations of schoolchildren after he operated the school patrol crossing near the clock on Hathaway Road for almost 20 years.

Bill was thanked for his service helping pupils at St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School.

Bill was a long-time member of Thurrock Rugby Club and the RAF Association Club on Southend Road.

Among many tributes to him, one – by Sandra Maslen - summed up. She said: "I remember Bill at the Hathaway road crossing by the shops- helped me across the road safely many times on my way to school and then college- he was a lovely lollipop man funny and caring and very liked by everyone."

Local councillor John Kent knew Bill for many years and said: "Such sad news. Bill lived a very full life and there are few like him around anymore.

"He used to tell me of his involvement in the Berlin airlift and saw generations of schoolchildren - including our three - safely across the road.

"I used to see him regularly until he moved down to the south coast last year, he was great company.

"Bill was a lovely man and my thoughts are with his family at this sad time."

Bill's daughter Jane told Thurrock Nub News: "We are so very sad but comforted by so many messages from people. He was so loved and such a character."


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