Tributes have been paid to a former archaeological society secretary who died just days before her 92nd birthday. 

Shirley Ann Harris was the secretary of Great Yarmouth Archaeological Society from 1993 to 2002.  

During her time in that role, she organised many successful trips – despite her frequent concerns over bad weather or covering the hire costs of the bus. 

She was born in Ilford, Essex, in 1932 to Edward Harris and Mabel Tungate.  

Her father was employed by Trinity House to manage lightships and navigation buoys around the coasts of Britain.  

Eastern Daily Press: Shirley Harris (right of Great Yarmouth Mayor, Paul Garrod) in 1988 at the unveiling of a plaque at

Her mother was originally from Caister, near Yarmouth, but the family lived in Swansea during the Second World War where they survived the Luftwaffe bombing. 

After the war, the family returned to Yarmouth where Shirley became head girl of Great Yarmouth Girl’s High School.  

During school holidays, she worked at the town’s library, then located on Hall Quay, and was involved in the excavation of the Caister Roman fort with the Norfolk archaeologist Charles Green.  

She went on to gain a degree in English and French. 

Following her education, she moved to Hampstead in London and worked at an advertising agency. 

She lived near Hampstead Heath and was on “nodding terms" with Michael Foot, a former leader of the Labour Party, who used to walk his dog Dizzy – named after Tory PM Benjamin Disraeli. 

Later, she went into teaching and worked at a secondary school in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. 

She returned to Caister in around 1990 to look after her elderly father, and here she lectured part time at Great Yarmouth College of Further Education.  

Miss Harris travelled widely visiting historic and cultural sites in France, Italy, and Spain. She also travelled throughout the British Isles and Ireland, embarking on a difficult and arduous visit to the Scara Brae site on the Orkney Islands.  

Eastern Daily Press: Shirley Harris (right of Great Yarmouth Mayor, Paul Garrod) in 1988 at the unveiling of a plaque at

She was able to translate historic documents written in Latin and decipher medieval English wills and documents. 

And she acted as amanuensis to Arthur Lark, a former Norfolk Marshman and naturalist, by getting his photographs and papers in order. 

She would go on to contribute several articles to Yarmouth History and Local Archaeology. 

Paying tribute to her, friends Patricia Ashbourne and Andrew Fakes said: “Her meticulous organisation of trips away from the town were always successful. 

“She was quite a quiet, self-contained, and retiring person not given to ‘blowing her own trumpet’ but went about this task efficiently with the minimum of fuss. 

“She did not much talk about herself, but we learned about her life over the years. 

“She will be sadly missed by her friends and contacts throughout East Anglia.” 

Miss Harris was also well-known throughout the county through her membership of the Filby Society, Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, the King Street Research group, and various other organisations.   

She died last month and was days short of her 92nd birthday.  

A funeral was held at Caister Holy Trinity Church on April 16.  

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