Obituary: Norman Cousins 1922-2014

Norman Cousins founder of Cousins of Emneth died peacefully on Saturday 31st May 2014, with his family around him.

A well known figure at agricultural shows around the country, he began his working life aged 14 at W G West And Son in Outwell as an apprentice blacksmith. During his 6 years there he was to learn the skills that were so important to him in his working life.

Around this time he met his future wife Betty. They shared a love of dancing, especially the foxtrot, something they enjoyed together throughout their lives. After they were married the chance came to buy the forge at Emneth and they put all their savings into the purchase.

Norman’s reputation as a blacksmith had gone before him and although he was only equipped with the basic tools of his trade, his forge, anvil, hammer and tongs, he was soon busy. One local farmer was so keen to see Norman do well that after having had a good harvest he paid for a whole years’ worth of repair work up front. That man was Fred Deptford, and his family are still valued customers today.

As well as repair work for local farmers, he made new implements to traditional designs and using his metal working skills made a diverse range of products including wrought iron gates and furniture. He even made and installed pylons and aerials to enable people in the Fens to receive T. V. signals for the first time.

The business prospered with Norman’s hard work and Betty’s gift for the finances. After building an extension and employing more men they decided to exhibit at their first show in 1960. On their first day they sold 22 harrows and they never looked back.

Over the years new implements were invented that were patented and which earned silver medals at several country shows. Betty and Norman loved meeting people from all walks of life at the shows.

One of his proudest moments was being presented to the Queen Mother to receive the silver trophy for the best trade stand at the East of England Show.

Although Norman was a showman, he was there to sell and his complete confidence in his products often enabled him to come home to Emneth with a full order book, causing the forge to work 7 days a week to keep up with orders.

Norman was a keen fisherman, a hobby he enjoyed all his life. He was a member of the Blacksmiths Association and was actively involved and contributing to their new building on the Royal Showground. He was also called on to judge the forge work for the blacksmithing competitions.

He and Betty were active members of the fund raising Companions of Park House, Sandringham committee.

An active member of the Emneth community he has been involved in various projects and fund raising over the years, most notably the building of the new village hall. During his retirement Norman took great pride and pleasure in watching the business grow and develop under the guidance of his son John and later his granddaughter Laura.

Always a family man, Norman was lucky to have many of his family living close by, children, Ann, John and Jane, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and he enjoyed their regular visits.

His passing is a great loss.

A kind honourable and hard working man, respected by all who knew him.
Cousins of Emneth Limited . Tel: 01945 584600 . Fax: 01945 584616 . Email: