After years of planning, a Great Waldingfield man died suddenly while on a pilgrimage in Spain.
Michael Stone, of The Street, had always wanted to go on a Christian pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with two of his friends, but died suddenly of an aneurysm in northern Spain without completing the trip.
“It was a big shock,” said his widow, Ann.
Mrs Stone said the family had been left particularly upset by the process of trying to get her husband’s body back to the UK.
The 71-year-old was with two friends who were completing their pilgrimage on their bicycles.
The original plan had been for Mr Stone to cycle the journey too but, having suffered a broken hip after falling from his bike last year, he acted as a backup driver for the pair.
Only a few days into the cycle ride, Mr Stone collapsed and died.
Due to complications, he was cremated in Spain and his ashes sent back.
A memorial service was held in the Church of St Lawrence for the popular figure.
The service was “packed out” with standing room only as 280 people attended to pay tribute to a man who was heavily involved in village life.
“He had a great fondness for the village and initiated a number of projects,” said Mrs Stone. “Including getting the village scrap book into print and opening the back room of his office for a weekly pop-in coffee morning where people could meet for a coffee and a chat.”
Mrs Stone said her husband’s work was a key part of his life, having worked at GW Business Associates in Lavenham Road.
From the office, Mr Stone collected articles for the village newsletter and helped distribute this to villagers.
He leaves behind his wife Ann, daughter Alexandra, 22, and son Nick, 19.