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Nora Batty

Kathy Staff aka Nora Batty
Photograph courtesy of the 'Nora Batty Experience' website
Bunwell's Links with 'The Last of the Summer Wine'

The popular series  'Last of the summer Wine' is well known for two of its former characters; Nora Batty and Compo.  But what connection do they have with Bunwell? 

Nora Batty, remembered for her trademark wrinkled stockings, was played by the late Kathy Staff - maiden name Minnie Higginbottom. 

Kathy married John Staff in August 1951.  He was from Llanelli where his father had been a tinplate worker, however neither of his parents were Welsh.  Indeed John's father, George Staff was originally from Bunwell.
It is believed that Kathy and her husband once visited Bunwell Churchyard to view the family grave. This was perhaps in 1982 when she was playing Mother Goose at the Theatre Royal in Norwich.  The grave would have been number 228 in the Women's Institute survey of 1980.  The headstone reads:
'In ever loving remembrance of Elizabeth the beloved wife of John Staff who entered into rest July 30th 1907 aged 67 years. Thy will be done.  Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee - Isaiah XXXVI.3'.

This date probably means that the grave is that of the grandmother of John Staff.  Where did they live in the village?  
 In the series the wellie-booted ever scruffy Compo played by the late Bill Owen was always a thorn in the side of Nora, although one believes she had an underlying affection for him.  On 3rd October In either 1978 or 1979, Bill Owen visited Bunwell youth Club for an Open Night where he is pictured signing autographs.

Can anyone confirm the year and recall any memories of the event?  Who organised it what connection did they have with Bill Owen?

Peter Day
Bill Owen aka Compo

Back row: Andrew Smith NYCS, Bill Jackson Chairman Carleton Rode PC, Percy Day Bunwell PC, Geoff Angus Chairman youth Club holding James Harris.  Front row:  John Harris, Bill Owen, Venetia Pelling.
Photograph by courtesy of Eastern Daily Press