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Jack still going strong 67 years on

PUBLISHED: 16:55 17 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:16 11 May 2010

With pic 13:10:08



THERE are those who serve on a parish council for decades, but few could equal the 67 years of a Caister man.

Jack Chase, who celebrated his 102nd birthday with close family at his home on Sunday, still attends regular meetings and he believes he is the oldest in the country.

With pic 13:10:08

THERE are those who serve on a parish council for decades, but few could equal the 67 years of a Caister man.

Jack Chase, who celebrated his 102nd birthday with close family at his home on Sunday, still attends regular meetings and he believes he is the oldest in the country.

The former RAF officer with the glint in his eye speaks out at the meetings if it is something he disagrees with and he remains just as committed to tackling the issues in Caister.

There are few who could match his knowledge of the village's past to the present day; he has seen 19 prime ministers and two world wars and is well read on current politics.

He smiled: “I've always been a bit of a rebel, but times have changed. I can remember when I first attended the council meetings; they would be packed. Nowadays it's more likely to be about 14 people who turn up.”

A former borough councillor, standing for the Conservatives, he enjoyed playing the game of politics.

He said: “I was once asked why I always did the opposite to my opponents. I replied that my opponents would go around kissing babies at election time, I would rather kiss their mothers!”

But he maintains politics should be kept out of local issues and describes himself as non-conformist.

He said: “As chairman of the housing committee I took the view that you can't be in that role unless you build houses and house people.”

He was surprised when the council awarded him the freedom of the borough in 2002, 12 years after he came off the authority, joining an elite list including Lord Nelson.

Mr Chase married wife Kathleen in 1931 and they had five children. He was widowed 16 years ago.

He joined the RAF as an officer at the outbreak of the second world war but rarely talks about his own military past.

As well as his continuing stint on Caister Parish Council, which began in 1927, Mr Chase also represented his village on Blofield and Flegg Rural District Council from 1948 and Great Yarmouth Borough Council from 1973.

He revealed Caister had changed beyond recognition since the time between the two world wars and added that the car culture is largely responsible.

He said: “After the second world war, children attended Sunday school and as more and more people were able to afford motor cars, the families would go off for a day at the seaside and as a result those attendances dropped. Therefore society reflects this trend and 'know my rights' attitudes. In my younger days, people would go to church sometimes up to three times a day.”

Mr Chase's father built most of the homes in Tan Lane while his son Robert, former chairman of Norwich City FC, expanded the family building business.

He has five grown up children, nine grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

We apologise for referring to Mr Chase as being “late”, in Peggotty's Through the Porthole feature last week.

ends

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