Sunderland bids farewell to war hero and daredevil community champion

Jack Watson during his sponsored parachute jump
Jack Watson during his sponsored parachute jump
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Our community is poorer today for the loss of Jack Watson.

A hero of the Second World War, his exploits in defence of his country alone were reason enough to earn him a place in Sunderland folklore.

But his spirit for adventure, charity work and selfless nature cemented his place in the heart of the community.

A life well lived, Jack’s exploits hit the headlines in his later years when he completed a parachute jump at the age of 91!

He performed that daredevil stunt, not for notoriety, but for a good cause.

Having lost his wife to Alzheimer’s, he took on the jump to raise money for the charity that did so much for his partner.

Jack Watson at Seaham's Tommy statue

Jack Watson at Seaham's Tommy statue

A total of £6,000 was raised for Action on Dementia, but his story raised the spirits of all who read it.

Certainly we couldn’t forget that fantastic photograph of Jack hurtling through the air at an age when most struggle to negotiate a flight of stairs.

It showed that age really is just a number, it’s what is in your heart and mind that matters.

And Jack was all heart.

The tales recounted at his funeral revealed a gentleman full of kindness for his fellow man and love for his family ... and a wicked sense of humour.

We were told of his valour at the Battles of Monte Cassino in Italy and how he returned to the country with his family in later years, the last time in 2014 for the 70th anniversary of the battles.

But for Jack, family came first and his devotion to them all was the real mark of the man.

We are poorer for the loss of Jack, but a richer community for the life he lived and the love he put back in.

RIP Jack Watson.