Fond farewells to a legend of the Fylde

Former Gazette columnist Jack Benson
Former Gazette columnist Jack Benson
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Former Gazette columnist Jack Benson was laid to rest in a sun-lit corner of the Fylde countryside that had been his ‘patch’ for many years, following his funeral service yesterday.

Family and friends gathered at St Anne’s Church, Copp, Great Eccleston, to pay tribute to Mr Benson who died on August 1, aged 77.

He was described by his friend Dr John Mackie as “suffused with goodwill and humanity”. The church was where Jack was christened, confirmed, and married.

It is also where his youngest daughter Lindsay will be married in a couple of weeks’ time, at a ceremony that had to be postponed when Jack died only days before the original wedding day.

Before finding fame as a writer and raconteur Jack had been variously a gardener, delivery driver, dance band guitarist, window cleaner and greengrocer in and around his native Little Eccleston.

He later became a writing lecturer at both Kirkham and Garth prisons, retiring at 68.

His daughter Kate told the service he had become “a local legend – but most of all he made us laugh!”

The crowded congregation were reminded of this more than once as Dr Mackie recounted his friend’s life, and when the Reverend Margaret Fowler explained that the choice of In The Bleak Midwinter, as one of the hymns - and in the summer - was because it was Jack’s favourite.

Mourners later attended a wake at the Cartford in Little Eccleston, which famously bears an inscription on the ceiling above the point where Jack met his wife Patty.

Since Mr Benson’s death, tributes have also been paid by many people who knew him.

Barry Band, Blackpool Probus Club secretary, said: “He was a real character of the Fylde - a real outdoors man.

“He must have spoken in every village hall this side of the M6 at some point about gardening.”

“A Marton Mossite, altogether he was humorous, welcoming and had a good take on what was going on around him.”

Katherine Parkinson, of Newlyn Court, South Shore, who went to school with Mr Benson, said: “He was a lovely person.

“I have written a book of memories of the Moss and Jack read from it for the talking newspaper.”

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