Keith Crossman, our Chairman, died on 15th October after being ill for several months. Keith was held in great affection by the vast majority of people in both Burpham and beyond. He was a natural leader and
over many decades ensured that our community pulled together and moved resolutely forward to better itself. Keith led by example and it is largely because of his endeavours and tireless energy that the village has acquired and retained much of the distinctive character and facilities that we take for granted today. Think of any major local event or activity and Keith Crossman’s hand will be writ large across it.
He founded the Sutherland Memorial Hall Amenities Club. In 1990, Keith was one of the founding members of the Burpham Bowling Club and after a spate of burglaries in 1994, he helped establish the Meadway Neighbourhood Watch. Many of you will recall the Burpham Millennium Fete held at the Sutherland Memorial Park on 24 June to celebrate the year 2000. Keith was its Chairman, main organiser, fundraiser and general factotum.
Then there is the BCA where he served on the committee from 1990 in every capacity known to man. He never retired from it - with a twinkle in his eye and a wry smile, he was elected Chairman again in 2014, absolutely committed to its continuation and wanting to ensure it represented everyone living and working in Burpham. Keith liked to refer to his home at the corner of Merrow Lane with the London Road
and overlooking Sutton Place as Number One, Guildford. He was certainly Burpham’s No.1 resident and representative. His courtesy, humour and concern for our community will be sorely missed - he epitomised all that is encompassed by the accolade “an officer and a gentleman.”
A Keith Crossman Memorial Committee has been set up, with the first meeting on 11th November 2014 with the purpose of securing a permanent memorial to this truly remarkable man. It includes representatives from the BCA, Meadway Neighbourhood Watch and the Burpham Bowling Club. Invitations to join have been sent to Burpham Church, Sutherland Hall Amenities Club and the Papercourt Sailing Club where Keith was Commodore from 1990 - 1992.
This is very much a retrospective action. Earlier this year a group of people decided that Keith’s selfless voluntary service to the Burpham Community deserved national recognition such as an MBE and a submission was put forward in June to the Government’s Cabinet Office. Sadly this coincided with the onset of Keith’s illness. Later when the seriousness of his condition became apparent, he was told about it in confidence, with the objective of raising his spirits at a very difficult time – a forgivable breach of protocol. He expressed complete surprise – “Really?” He was touched to know how highly he was regarded. Sadly, awards cannot be given posthumously. We feel that it behoves us to honour at a local level, a man whose overall impact on the Burpham community far exceeds the sum of his many individual contributions. Many aspire to make a difference; Keith Crossman quite simply has done so in a superlative and unpretentious fashion. We hope you will both approve of and support our endeavours to achieve something that truly honours the memory of this exceptional man.
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