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From the Eastern Daily Press, Saturday, February 26, 2000

Countryman who 'milked' royal finger

OBITUARY - ARTHUR AMIS

Countryman Arthur Amis, who became agent to two North Norfolk Labour MPs, has died aged 92.

His rise from farmhand to political aide was spurred by his stalwart union work and was recalled in his biography, From Dusk to Dawn, which is now held by research libraries, including the Commons, as a reference work on bygone rural life.

And one of the highlights was the day Mr Amis "milked" the finger of Prince Philip during a Buckingham Palace garden party. Mr Amis was a hand milking champion, and kept the Norfolk Show "clan milking" cup outright after winning it five times in a row. So when Prince Philip spoke of being taught about teats by Canadian dairymen, Mr Amis told him it was "all wrong" and "squeezed his finger from the top to the bottom to show him the right way".

Mr Amis, who lived at Trunch all his life, died at North Walsham Cottage Hospital early yesterday.

EDP writer Keith Skipper paid tribute to "one of a dwindling number of old-fashioned Norfolkmen" who had a "lovely twinkle" for sharing his knowledge of country life.

One of 10 children, Arthur learned milking at the age of six, and left school at 11 to help his father as a cowman.

He was active in the farmworkers' union and helped marshal its forces in the 1926 General Strike.

He was also active in his local community life as a district and county councillor and clerk to the parish council. In 1958 he became the first secretary-agent for the North Norfolk Labour Part - starting with an office in a shed at his home and boosting the constituency's profile and presence with money-raising efforts and new offices at North Walsham

The first MP he served was Edwin Gooch, and the second Bert Hazell, who praised Mr Amis's "humour and deep sincerity" in a foreword to his book.

Mr Amis chaired the East Anglian Stockman's Club, refereed soccer matches, judged and competed in horticultural shows and worked for the elderly. He was the driving forces behind the Blacksmith's Close development at Trunch, where a road was named after him.

He was a local Methodist preacher from his teens to his 80s, and was instrumental is getting the present Trunch chapel built.

His wife, Gladys, died four years ago. He leaves an only child, Peter.

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© Eastern Counties Newspapers Transcribed by E.C.Apling, March 2000.

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