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‘Everyone is enjoying the legacy of his hard work’ – Tributes pour in for Norfolk’s ‘goose man’

Article by Donna-Louise Bishop in the EDP –

Hundreds of tributes have been paid to a farmer affectionately dubbed ‘goose man’, after he died suddenly.

The family of Alister Borthwick, a founder of Deepdale Backpackers and Camping based on north Norfolk’s coast, has received hundreds of messages since making the announcement.

Mr Borthwick and his wife Verily began the diversification of Deepdale Farm, at Burnham Deepdale, more than 30 years ago.

As well as helping to create Deepdale Granary, now the Groups Hostel, he also developed the campsite, shops, cafe, and supermarket, and brought to life the site’s events and visitor information centre.

His son, Jason Borthwick, said: “Anyone staying in or visiting Burnham Deepdale is enjoying the legacy of Alister’s hard work, dedication and passion for this beautiful part of the world.”

Alister Borthwick inside one of the teepee's at Burnham Deepdale Backpackers. Photo: Ian Burt

Mr Borthwick was born in 1945 at Brancaster Staithe and attended school outside of Norfolk before completing a science degree in agriculture at Edinburgh University in 1969 – where he met Verily.

The pair married in 1970, before having their children, son Jason and daughters Fiona and Anna.

As well as looking after Deepdale Farm, which was bought by Mr Borthwick’s grandfather in the 1930s, he ran The Jolly Sailors pub for 18 years. He was also NFU branch chairman of King’s Lynn and Swaffham, spent six years as the chairman of the UK Coeliac Society, co-started a homewatch initiative, was involved with the parish council and spent a year as chairman, and also contributed to a number of initiatives within the village – just to name a few.

His hobbies included sailing, gardening, playing cards, shooting, and tennis.

A funeral for the grandfather-of-six was held on Monday, September 30, at St Mary’s Church.

Close friend of 70 years Edward Stanton said: “No man could ever have fitted so much into their 74 years as Alister.

“Everything he did was always positive. Family matters, sporting, business – he always went at it full tilt.

“Alister, We salute you. We are so glad that we have had the chance to share so much of our lives with you. Every single one of us are beneficiaries of your remarkable legacy.”

Some of his most memorable moments include the filming of the James Bond film Die Another Day at the farm and becoming affectionately known as ‘goose man’ after appearing on Countryfile and BBC news.

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