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Sadness at death of Mr Cockermouth

The following article was published in the Times and Star on 23 March 2007.

Jack Jackson with daughter Vanessa

Wilfred Jackson, one of the best-known and most respected figures in Cockermouth, has died at the age of 81.

Better known as Jack, Mr Jackson was owner of one of the town’s oldest businesses, JB Banks and Son ironmongers, which was founded in 1836.

His father, also called Wilfred, joined the firm in 1902 and eventually became a partner.

He later bought out the other partners and passed the business on to his son, who joined the firm in 1942. Apart from serving for three years in the Royal Marines, he had been working there ever since, although he had recently scaled down his full-time work.

Last year, he celebrated his 80th birthday with an open day at the shop when he enjoyed meeting customers and friends.

His daughter, Vanessa Graham, said that Mr Jackson began to feel ill while working in the shop last Friday and died in the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, on Monday morning.

Mr Jackson served as a magistrate for 28 years, being appointed to the Cockermouth Bench in the late 1960s.

He was its last chairman before it amalgamated with the Maryport and Workington benches to form the West Allerdale Bench.

He retired on reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70. He had also been a tax commissioner.

He was one of the founders of the Cockermouth mountain rescue team and was president at the time of his death.

During his life, Mr Jackson did much to preserve Cockermouth, where he moved as a child, having been born in Workington.

He bought the town’s old court house when it was in danger of dereliction and bought property in Cocker Lane when it looked as though that part of the town could disappear.

The court house remains one of the town’s landmarks and Cocker Lane is now a desirable residential area.

He also transformed Banks Court into an attractive development of cottages and flats.

Thanks to his commitment to history, JB Banks still contains a wealth of original features, including 173 drawers behind the large mahogany counter.

Mr Jackson met his wife, Dorothy, on a sailing course in Windermere.

He was an instructor with the Central Council for Physical Recreation and Dorothy, from Chester, was learning to sail.

The couple, who would have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in October, were life members of Cockermouth Civic Trust and were dedicated to preserving the town’s gem image.

Mr Jackson is survived by his wife and by his three children - Kay, a chiropodist in Edinburgh; Alan, who is workshop manager at Lloyds BMW garage in Carlisle and Vanessa, who is carrying on the family business. He was also grandfather to five granddaughters and a grandson and father-in-law to Jackie and Chris.

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