Tributes paid to 'larger than life' former soldier

PUBLISHED: 08:09 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:34 28 March 2019

Roger Burgess. Picture: ANDY GRIFFIN

Roger Burgess. Picture: ANDY GRIFFIN

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A former Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, athlete and distinguished soldier, Colonel Roger Burgess, has died aged 70.

Colonel Burgess died on March 16 only six weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. He was one of Thaxted’s leading lights, photographed by photographer Andy Griffin in the 2017 book Thaxted’s People.

Colonel Burgess, was educated at the City of London School and, in 1968, after two years at Sandhurst, was commissioned and served with 9th/12th Royal Lancers for more than 30 years, in Berlin, West Germany, Northern Ireland, Oman (the Dhofar campaign) and Bosnia.

A keen sportsman in his youth, he represented the UK at the European Championships in 1972 as part of the four-man bobsleigh team. He was also a proficient oarsman, representing the army at Henley and other international regattas between 1966 and 1968.

On leaving the army, Roger became a specialist military consultant to a number of UK defence companies for which he was made an OBE in 1997 and the Freedom of the City of London, before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth as a Queen’s Messenger. He was also County Commandant of the Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force as full colonel in the Reserve Forces.

Colonel Burgess was an active member of the Royal British Legion, a member of the Debden branch and recently retired as the Essex county chairman.

In 2017 he became a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, a role he was extremely honoured to undertake.

His daughter, Victoria, said: “He was a larger than life character with a great sense of humour. He was an amazing father, the best anyone could wish for. He was supportive and inspirational.

“He said instead of going straight to university I should travel the world and he bought me a round the world ticket and packed my bags.”

Colonel Burgess’s wife, Jacqueline, died in 2006. He leaves his mother, Sylvia, daughter Victoria, son-in-law Clive and grandchildren, George and Amelia. His funeral will be at St John the Baptist, in Thaxted, on Tuesday, April 2, at 2.30pm.

Family flowers only. Donations to Cancer Research UK or the MS Society c/o Peasgood and Skeates Shire Hill, Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 3AQ

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