Final farewell to an all-round sportsman

PUBLISHED: 13:20 18 August 2006 | UPDATED: 19:47 01 June 2010

William (Bill) Shield Bodger

William (Bill) Shield Bodger

FORMER businessman, footballer and swimmer, William (Bill) Shield Bodger has died at home at the age of 87. Mr Bodger was born in Wisbech and attended Wisbech Grammar School. He managed Bodger Brothers March branch in the early part of the Second World W

FORMER businessman, footballer and swimmer, William (Bill) Shield Bodger has died at home at the age of 87.

Mr Bodger was born in Wisbech and attended Wisbech Grammar School. He managed Bodger Brothers' March branch in the early part of the Second World War and then volunteered to join the Army and attained the rank of Lance Corporal with the Royal Anglians.

It was during this time that he met his future wife, Valerie Stephenson, who was working as a nurse at the North Cambs Hospital. The couple were married in December 1943 and honeymooned in blitz-torn London.

Mr Bodger was demobilised in 1945 and returned to the family business, Bodger Brothers, then being run by his father and uncle.

When they died in the early 1950s, Mr Bodger became the third generation of his family to head the firm. He worked there until 1984, retiring on his 65th birthday.

Mr Bodger played football for Wisbech Town, was a keen swimmer and played water polo for the county. He was also a keen ice skater. His swimming was said to have been of national, if not Olympic standard.

In his younger and middle years he would swim long distances in the sea at Hunstanton. At the age of 80 he could and would swim 50 lengths before breakfast. He sponsored the Wisbech Swimming Club for many years.

Mr Bodger was an active Conservative Party member and a sidesman at St Peter's Church for many years.

During his retirement Mr Bodger enjoyed his garden and was a member of the local gardening club. He and his wife, who died in 1991, travelled extensively throughout the world.

Mr Bodger leaves three children, Susan, Richard and Lois, and eight grandchildren.

A private cremation for family and close friends will take place at King's Lynn, followed by a service of remembrance at St Peter's Church in Wisbech on Monday, August 21 (2.30pm).

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