Final farewell to fireman and fisherman after Covid delayed memorial

Jack Wells who has died aged 83

Jack Wells came from a seafaring family and had a life-long affinity with boats and fishing. - Credit: Supplied by Barbara Wells

Family and friends are looking to finally gather and say a final farewell to a long-serving firefighter and man of the sea more than 16 months after he died.

Jack Wells died on March 14, 2020, aged 83, just as the first lockdown was imposed meaning they were only able to have a short funeral service at Caister and no wake, although a fire tender attended and stayed for the service.

As restrictions are eased a July memorial is being staged to honour his stalwart contribution.

Identical twins Jack and David Wells were both firefighters in Great Yarmouth.

Jack Wells (left) with his identical twin brother David. The pair joined the fire service in Great Yarmouth at the same time and served together for many years. - Credit: Supplied by Barbara Wells

Mr Wells served as a firefighter in Great Yarmouth for 22 years having joined alongside his  identical twin brother David in 1963 - the first of three generations to man the town's pumps.

He retired aged 49 after suffering a back injury pulling a casualty from a car.

In the years that followed he worked as a commercial fisherman and took people out on deep sea fishing trips, and to see the seals at Scroby sands.

He also had his own coach company at one time, mainly offering a shuttle service to and from airports.

Jack Wells has died aged 83

Jack Wells during his time at Gorleston Coastwatch. - Credit: supplied by Barbara Wells

He was also the manager of Coastwatch at Gorleston Pier for 12 years, keeping a close eye on the waters he loved and delivering talks on his eventful career to local groups.

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However, shortly after retirement, he was diagnosed with a rare muscle wasting disease Charcot Marie Tooth.

Jack and Barbara Wells on their wedding day in Great Yarmouth.

Jack and Barbara on their wedding having met on the way to the skating rink a few years earlier. The wedding took place at St Paul's in Newtown. They were married for 61 years. - Credit: Supplied by Barbara Wells

His wife of 61 years Barbara Wells said he was born in Southgates Road, Great Yarmouth, and had two sisters and three brothers.

One of his brothers, Kenneth, was tragically killed aged 12 in an air raid and his twin brother David died aged 66, having set up as a mackerel fisherman in Cornwall.

His older sister Irene was the first female police sergeant in Norfolk.

All the siblings went on to develop the same hereditary condition.

Jack was followed into the fire and rescue service by his son who retired two years ago after 30 years, and his grandson who has spent 16 years with the Yarmouth brigade after starting out in London.

Jack Wells former firefighter and fisherman

Jack Wells, a former firefighter, had many boats over the years. He loved the sea and enjoyed a stint as a lifeboatman in Caister when he and Barbara lived in the village. - Credit: Supplied by Barbara Wells

Meanwhile David's middle son, Jack's nephew, is still serving at a high rank.

Mrs Wells said her husband had been disabled for some time but remained upbeat - his love of all things to do with the sea and fishing undimmed.

"He was very outdoorsy and very outgoing. We were total opposites," she said.

"He knew a lot of people and did talks all round the pubs."

Mr Wells leaves three children and nine grandchildren.