Bury St Edmunds honours local ‘legend’

CHEERS: Steve Bradley, John Dunnett, Thomas Allen, Cyril Frankum and Esther Gould toast Richard Corky Mansfield, inset below, with guest ale Corky Best served by The Grapes barman John Taylor
CHEERS: Steve Bradley, John Dunnett, Thomas Allen, Cyril Frankum and Esther Gould toast Richard Corky Mansfield, inset below, with guest ale Corky Best served by The Grapes barman John Taylor
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A Bury St Edmunds ‘legend’ who died last week now has a beer named after him.

Richard Mansfield, who many knew only as ‘Corky’, passed away last Friday at Risby Hall Nursing Home, a week after his 73rd birthday.

Richard 'Corky' Mansfield, John Capon and Louie Wayman

Richard 'Corky' Mansfield, John Capon and Louie Wayman

The father-of-three worked as a chef for many years, training at Elite Restaurant, in the Buttermarket, and later working at cafes in Risbygate Street and St John’s Street.

He was a well known ‘character’ around the town and his death has prompted a flood of tributes. Susan Maddams said she used to work with him in the early 70s.

“We had such a laugh - he was adored and had a heart of gold.”

Cyril Frankum said Corky was one of only a handful of people he still knew from his time at the Silver Jubilee School.

“Corky will be missed by people who knew him because Corky was a character,” he said, adding that he used to be ‘the best dressed bloke in Bury’.

Susan Buckle, one of Corky’s two daughters, said she had been ‘overwhelmed by how many people knew and respected him’. She said her father was ‘lovable’ but may have come across a bit odd because he was covered in tattoos.

Of his nickname, she said her mother, Valerie, told her he was ‘a very good swimmer in his day and floated like a cork’.

Hayley Charman, one of his three grandchildren, said: “I remember in school when I would tell my peers that Corky was my granddad, the complete shock on their faces – ‘what, that strange man with all the tattoos?!’ – some didn’t believe me! But I remember him as always being sweet and warm whenever I would see him in town.”

She said it was lovely to see so many people remembering him as ‘the fun, roguish character that he was’.

On Wednesday The Grapes in Brentgovel Street began hosting a guest ale in his honour.

Louise Skinner, the pub’s general manager, said: “In remembrance of local legend Corky, we are hosting a guest ale in our pub, ‘Corky Best’. He was a friend to the pub team and our customers and will be missed within the community.”

She will also be getting a brass plaque made with his name on to display on the bar. “He was like part of the furniture - everyone who knew The Grapes knew Corky,” she said.

Tony Wilson, who started a campaign for Greene King to bring out an ale in Corky’s memory, said: “He’s an old legend, a character from the town. I just think someone like that should be remembered.”

Corky’s friend John Capon, who used to own a tattoo studio he frequented, said: “A good pal, not sadly missed, just missed.”