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My pal Jack

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Midland Red
Cherwell
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1 of 11  Wed 21st Nov 2012 3:40pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4540

It's 3.25pm on Friday 21 June 1963, afternoon break at King Henry VIII Grammar School, prior to the last lesson of the week. I meet up with my pal Jack in the playground - he tells me he won't be at choir practice or the youth club tonight as he's running at the Butts, so I will see him on Sunday morning at Holy Trinity It's towards noon on Saturday 22 June 1963, and I take the short walk from home to KHVIII where I will meet up with the 1st XI as I am standing in for the regular scorer today in their game at Worcester - I can see that the flag is flying from the school tower On my way I meet my Grandad coming towards me - he's been in town on the bus to collect his Freeman's "pension" at County Hall - he lives with us now that Grandma has passed away He has a copy of the early edition of the Coventry Evening Telegraph - he asks me if I've seen the flag flying at half mast, and shows me the newspaper Jack is dead - he collapsed whilst running in a mile race last night at the Coventry Schools Athletic Association championships at the Butts - he was just 18 He wasn't due to run but stood in for the school cross country captain who had injured his leg Jack Fletcher was studying for his GCE 'A' levels at KHVIII, planning to go on to the Lanchester College of Technology and to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer He was vice-captain of the school cross country team, and also represented the school at cricket and rugby In addition, Jack was sports secretary of Holy Trinity Youth Fellowship and a member of the church choir Jack's ashes were laid to rest in the churchyard at Holy Trinity, near where my Grandma and Grandad's ashes are, and next but one to Grandad's sister, so when I visit that place I have four dear friends to remember It's nearly 50 years ago now, but I still remember that Saturday morning - and I still remember my pal Jack
My pal Jack
mattash
Rugby
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2 of 11  Wed 21st Nov 2012 5:31pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2010  Total posts:589

I think Jack had a loyal friend with you MR. I read that quote with feeling and admire that feeling. Can say no more.
My pal Jack
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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3 of 11  Wed 21st Nov 2012 6:51pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2863

My respects for your friend MR. It must have been an awful shock for you and all concerned at that time.
My pal Jack
Foxcote
Warwick
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4 of 11  Wed 21st Nov 2012 7:46pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:929

He sounded a truly decent, lovely lad. What a terrible tragedy for his parents. Did they have other children I wonder. His life achievements, although cut short would have multiplied I am sure. At least they are recorded here on the Forum for all to see. Thanks for sharing them. I'd like to see a photograph of your mate on here.
My pal Jack
JohnnieWalker
Canberra, Australia
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5 of 11  Sat 24th Nov 2012 9:57pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2011  Total posts:211

Hi MR On the night of the athletics meeting, I was scheduled to run the 440 yards and 880 yards for the KHVIII team. I was a year younger than Jack Fletcher. As the start time for the meeting at the Butts didn't allow time to go home after school, I and a few others arrived at the track straight from school and quite early for the meeting. I don't recall that Jack was a stand-in for another runner on the night, but - as luck would have it - he had forgotten to pack his socks. His mile race was early in the programme, and mine much later, so I lent him my socks for his race. If I remember, the mile was five laps of the Butts track, and early in the race Jack was up with the leaders (as usual!), but as he ran the turn at the far end of the track, he suddenly dropped back, and by the time he reached the changing rooms end he was staggering badly, and then collapsed. I don't recall us ever having trained medical people there - it was, after all, only an inter-schools meeting - so it was the teachers who had to try to help him (Ted Norrish and Gerry Barrell?). He was obviously in a serious condition, and an ambulance was called, but basically, I understand he died on the track from some sort of heart problem. I remember having to ride my bike home to Wyken after the meeting, and what a sorry trip that was! He was indeed a very nice and very popular guy, and I went to the funeral. Small world, isn't it!
True Blue Coventry Kid

My pal Jack
Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
6 of 11  Sun 25th Nov 2012 11:33am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4540

On 21st Nov 2012 7:46pm, Foxcote said: He sounded a truly decent, lovely lad. What a terrible tragedy for his parents. Did they have other children I wonder. His life achievements, although cut short would have multiplied I am sure. At least they are recorded here on the Forum for all to see. Thanks for sharing them. I'd like to see a photograph of your mate on here.
Here's the best I can do with a section of one of the Holy Trinity Church choir photos I posted earlier on the forum
My pal Jack
Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
7 of 11  Sun 25th Nov 2012 11:34am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4540

On 24th Nov 2012 9:57pm, JohnnieWalker said: Hi MR On the night of the athletics meeting, I was scheduled to run the 440 yards and 880 yards for the KHVIII team. I was a year younger than Jack Fletcher. As the start time for the meeting at the Butts didn't allow time to go home after school, I and a few others arrived at the track straight from school and quite early for the meeting. I don't recall that Jack was a stand-in for another runner on the night, but - as luck would have it - he had forgotten to pack his socks. His mile race was early in the programme, and mine much later, so I lent him my socks for his race. If I remember, the mile was five laps of the Butts track, and early in the race Jack was up with the leaders (as usual!), but as he ran the turn at the far end of the track, he suddenly dropped back, and by the time he reached the changing rooms end he was staggering badly, and then collapsed. I don't recall us ever having trained medical people there - it was, after all, only an inter-schools meeting - so it was the teachers who had to try to help him (Ted Norrish and Gerry Barrell?). He was obviously in a serious condition, and an ambulance was called, but basically, I understand he died on the track from some sort of heart problem. I remember having to ride my bike home to Wyken after the meeting, and what a sorry trip that was! He was indeed a very nice and very popular guy, and I went to the funeral. Small world, isn't it!
Thanks for posting this John - I couldn't believe it when you related this story to Rob and me last week Oh my
My pal Jack
mick
coventry
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8 of 11  Sun 25th Nov 2012 3:19pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2012  Total posts:74

I was a contemporary of Jack's and had known him from Coundon Primary School. I recall meeting up with him on the first day at KHVIII at the No1 terminus in Grayswood Avenue. He lived in Forfield Road and I lived in Southbank Road. Although we took different paths at KHVIII I remember the news with great sadness. He was a great lad and a wonderful sportsman. Thanks for these tributes.
My pal Jack
Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
9 of 11  Fri 21st Jun 2013 8:00am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4540

Jack Fletcher, Friday 21 June 1963 Still remembered with great affection, 50 years on RIP my good pal
My pal Jack
TonyS
Coventry
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10 of 11  Fri 21st Jun 2013 9:35am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2011  Total posts:1540

I didn't know Jack Fletcher, but your posts underline the true meaning of life-long friendship. Lovely sentiments and thoughts. RIP Jack.
My pal Jack
Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
11 of 11  Fri 21st Jun 2013 4:22pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4540

On 21st Jun 2013 9:35am, TonyS said: I didn't know Jack Fletcher, but your posts underline the true meaning of life-long friendship. Lovely sentiments and thoughts. RIP Jack.
Thanks, Tony - it's amazing how clear are the memories, even though it's half a century ago Smile
My pal Jack

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