Spirit of Jack Chase lives on at memorial

TRIBUTES were paid to one of the country’s longest-serving councillors, Caister centenarian Jack Chase, at a memorial service this week.

Hundreds of wellwishers packed into St Nicholas’ Church in Great Yarmouth on Monday to celebrate the life of the 104-year-old, who died on November 17.

He was laid to rest in December and this week’s service was organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council to honour his contribution as freeman of the borough.

Yarmouth mayor Barry Coleman led the tributes at the service, attended by family and friends as well as parish and borough councillors who knew Mr Chase from his 83 years of service as a councillor.

The Rev Charles Powles also spoke about his invovlvement with the Holy Trinity Church in Caister, while Caister Golf Club captain John Tweed and Mr Chase’s son Brian also gave speeches.

Mr Coleman recalled how Mr Chase always liked to speak in limericks and said he would have probably considered his best achievement as a councillor was spending millions on Caister’s sea defences.

He said: “He was witty, clever, to the point and universally admired. I had the privilege of knowing Jack Chase and during that time he became a friend and mentor.

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“The spirit of Jack Chase is indelibly marked on Caister and Great Yarmouth.”

Mr Chase’s son Brian said his father attended St Nicholas Priory School, next door to the church and regaled the audience with a tale of how the centenarian, known to his family as ‘Dad,’ ‘Pa’ and ‘Pa-Dad,’ had decided to join his father’s business instead of staying at school, against his headteacher’s wishes.

He also remembered how Mr Chase liked to tell his family tales from the second world war, including how as an officer in the RAF he built a blast wall around an aerodrome despite having few raw materials.

Mr Tweed said Mr Chase took up golf after achieving a par score on the first hole he played and added that on one occasion the builder agreed to build homes in Caister after striking a deal with a fellow golfer he met on the course.

He added: “We are very proud that Mr Chase was a very professional and honourable man and we will miss him greatly.”

As well as his continuing stint on Caister Parish Council – which lasted from 1927 until his death – he also represented his village on Blofield and Flegg Rural District Council and Yarmouth borough council.

He was also an honorary freeman of the Yarmouth borough and churchwarden at Holy Trinity Church, Caister.

He married his wife Kathleen in 1931; she died in 1992, and there are three surviving children.