Tributes to stalwart Bill Goostrey

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FOR more than a decade Bill Goostrey, who has died aged 70, was the welcoming face of Littlehampton’s volunteer hub, Dove Lodge.

Originally from Brisbane, ‘Aussie Bill’, as he was affectionately known, was the volunteer receptionist at Dove Lodge, the Beach Road base of volunteer umbrella group CVS Arunwide and numerous community organisations.

He was a familiar figure to the staff and volunteers of these groups, and the hundreds, probably thousands of people who came to Dove Lodge to use their services.

A printer by trade, Bill moved to Littlehampton in 1986 and became involved in the voluntary sector in 1996 at the Beehive, a Littlehampton group for people with mental health problems.

When, in 2003, the CVS (council for Voluntary Service) moved into Dove Lodge, Bill played a major part in the relocation.

Valerie Sharp, his manager at the time, and still a trustee of Dove Lodge, paid tribute to Bill’s long and loyal service. She said: “He was a big man, with a huge heart and a big appetite for life. His generosity was legendary, and he always had a big welcoming smile with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

“Bill’s background in the printing trade made him indispensable as a proof-reader and designer of promotional material for them and other organisations.”

Recalling his role in the move, including converting the former nursing home into office accommodation for the voluntary sector, she added: “This was a huge task and without his support, encouragement and help would have been nearly impossible.

“He dealt with contractors, suppliers and other volunteers in a calm, professional manor and was hugely instrumental in ensuring all went according to plan.”

Bill was presented with a crystal decanter by Dove Lodge trustees in 2006 in gratitude for his work and in 2010 was a finalist in Arun District Council’s Community Heroes awards.