The Norwich Hebrew Congregation is mourning the loss of its long serving Honorary Treasurer, Mr Nicholas Simons, a man of kind heart and generous spirit who has died on 21stMarch 2018, age 63.
Nick was born on 1stApril 1954 in Bolton, to Flora(nee Krafchik) and Leonard Simons(previously Posnansky) the oldest of two children, with a sister,Anna.
When he was two, the family moved to Preston, the home town of Flora, whose Polish parents, had moved north following the Zeppelin raids of WW1.
Nick and Anna were brought up in an orthodox home. The family were active members of the Preston Jewish community, where Nick attended cheder and was barmitzvah.
He attended King Edward VII School in Lytham St Annes, followed by Leeds University to study Agricultural Science. In his first year at Leeds he met Poppy and they were married on 6th July 1978. Poppy and Nicholas have two children, Amy and Ben.
Nick moved to Norfolk in 1977 and this is when he got his first of many dogs, a much- photographed Springer Spaniel named George.
After 25 years of service at Bernard Matthews, Nick was presented the gold watch he was wearing when he died. He had worked his way up the firm and was in charge of all the agriculture as Farms Director by the time he left after 26 years. In 2004, Nick’s work took him away from Norfolk travelling to GLW feeds near Lough borough; his last journey was the day before he died.
Nick developed diabetes and was a pioneer patient of the in dwellingins ulinpump becoming an expert at sugar calculations and insulin pump control. In 2008 he walked the 99 mile West Highland Way and raised £4,000 for diabetes research. It would be fair to say that he was not much of a sportsman although he was an enthusiastic and long-suffering supporter of Norwich City FC.
He was a man for all seasons with a vast range of hobbies and interests; never bored and never boring. Utterly unpretentious with many opinions but never opinionated. Among his wide-ranging talents,hewasabrilliantprojectorganizerandhadbroughttheseskillsintoplayto renovate the Shul. He had a playful sense of humour that endeared him to many. And as one of life’s pragmatists, he rarely lost his cool- “It is what it is” was his leitmotif.
He was not especially religious but he had an innate sense of the importance of community. He did everything for the Congregation never expecting recognition or gratitude. He was a rare mensch in a small community largely unsung and will be desperately missed.
Recently he had been instrumental and successful in fund raising and planning to create a Jewish Community and Heritage Centre in Norwich. It is the determined wish of the Congregation that the efforts to complete this task will be renewed in his memory. His enormous contribution to the community was recognized by the Chief Rabbi who called personally to offer his condolences.
Both Amy and Ben were recently married. Nick was thrilled and proud to see his children married and also to have his mother Flora from the Isle of Man attending both weddings.
He died suddenly and unexpectedly and his family have carried out his wish to donate his organs so that many others might live. Quite in character his last act had been a meeting that very afternoon to arrange exhibitions of the important medieval historyofJewishNorwichattheCastleMuseumintheCity.
His funeral and memorial service held at the Norwich Synagogue was attended by some 180 people from all walks of life, friends, neighbours, colleagues, the Jewish community and of course family some of whom travelled far to say farewell. Provincial communities depend on just a few good men and women. Nick was one of those few who truly “occupy themselves in faithfulness with the wants of the congregation”