I attended Jim’s funeral today at Thornton Crematorium to help celebrate the life of a well known and much liked local journalist, dog lover, bus enthusiast and owner of his pride and joy the wooden boat Manxman. There was a lovey eulogy by his friend Nigel Hughes and a great railway poem reading by Danielle Thompson a fellow Champion reporter. What’s more the Celebrant was also a friend of Jim, my fellow Lydiate Parish Councillor Neil Spencer. And to cap it all the Mayor of Sefton Cllr. June Burns attended too. Although only 10 of us were at the ceremony, due to the present health crisis and the restrictions flowing from it, I think we gave Jim a send off which would have approved of.
This is the cover of the order of service, one of the best of its kind I have ever seen – by Nigel Hughes.
This was my contribution to the celebration:-
Hello Jim, Tony here, you know that bit of a leftie whom you debated politics, railways and life in general with as our frustrations required of us both.
I got to know you around 1990 I guess, so we must have spent 30 years or so putting the world to rights or is that lefts?
You know we got along as we were able to laugh at ourselves; nothing worse than taking yourself too seriously. I had my trains which you had more than a passing interest in and you had your buses which I tried to catch now and again.
I recall you sitting through Maghull Town Council meetings with a face which gave away your thoughts at times, yet you became not just a journalist sat on the shoulders of local decision makers but a friend too. Unafraid to speak your mind, to add an opinion, but also someone who just wanted councillors to do right by his home town. That’s why the Town Council presented you with a Maghull tie which you wore for years as a proud Maghullian of birth.
Now Jim about that felt hat! Yes I’ve found out about it via Jeanette Smith who says ‘I worked with Jim on the Crosby Herald in the late 60s early 70s. I remember him always turning up for work in a red felt hat, quite outrageous for a serious, sensible journalist. But he got away with it such was his quirky character. RIP Jim’
I appreciated your advice Jim as my political career developed and when it became apparent that I may become Leader of Sefton Council you were encouraging and supportive despite our political differences. During those 7 years we continued to chat on a weekly basis just as we had done during my time as a parish councillor. You were the journalist who knew me inside out.
In recent times we have spoken less yet every few weeks we’d still strike up a phone conversation of some length where we’d slip back into our old ways.
I’ll miss you proud Captain Jim of the Norfolk Broads boat Manxman, one unique man and his 4 legged friends. We shall not see the like of Jim again…………
If you’d like to read more about Jim my obituary article on Jim’s passing is available via this link:-