Final tributes to Caister councillor Jack Chase
18:58 08 December 2010
DESCRIBED as a role model for David Cameron’s Big Society ideal, Caister centenarian and long-serving councillor Jack Chase was laid to rest at a poignant, and at times light-hearted, funeral service.
Dignitaries, including borough, county and parish councillors joined family and friends in the 170-strong congregation at Holy Trinity Church in Caister on Monday.
Borough council leader Barry Coleman led tributes to his former colleague, who died, aged 104, in his sleep at his Yarmouth Road home in Caister on November 17.
Mr Coleman joked how Jack, a councillor for 83 years, talked in limericks and jokes, which were “sometimes, but not always relevant to what you were discussing.”
Reflecting on the bittersweet nature of the service, he added that sorrow at Jack’s loss should be balanced with his achievements during his life.
“A hole has been left behind, that is the legacy of Jack, but I feel the achievements of 104 years help to compensate for that loss. The spirit of Jack Chase is indelibly marked on the communities of Caister and the whole borough of Great Yarmouth.”
He said the Prime Minister could find the Big Society in Jack in everything he had done for the borough. “It is inadequate just to make a list of Jack’s achievements because there is more to Jack’s life. His life is more than just a list, but a treasure trove of all that is good in the human spirit.
“Jack’s life is the nearest you are going to get to a practical demonstration of the Big Society. He is a role model for the present and future society.”
Jack’s son Brian sparked laughter when he reminisced about his father’s passion for sport, especially golf, though he also played football in goal for Caister. He remembered light fittings at home being held together by sticky tape, due to his father’s over-zealous practice with a golf club.
He also recalled how builder Jack managed to emulsion the house without putting down any protective coverings, leaving a lasting shadow around fixtures and fittings.
The Rector, the Rev Tim Thompson, led the service with hymns, including Abide with Me. It finished with a poem read by Jack’s grandson Chris Pegge.
As well as his continuing stint on Caister parish council – which lasted from 1927 until his death – John Robert (Jack) Chase also represented his village on Blofield and Flegg Rural District Council and Yarmouth Borough Council.
In earlier interviews for the Mercury, he had spoken of his pride in his visible achievements in Caister, which included overseeing the start of work on the sea wall in Caister in the 1930s to protect the village.
He was also a former captain, and first president, of Caister Golf Club.
He married wife Kathleen in 1931; she died in 1992, and there are three surviving children.
The service was followed by a private family committal, and donations in Mr Chase’s memory will be shared between Holy Trinity and St Edmund’s churches, and Flegg Disabled.