Funeral of well-known Sabden man, 87, who always had a smile and a song

Mourners packed St Mary's RC Church to say farewell to animal lover Jack Haythornthwaite.
Mourners packed St Mary's RC Church to say farewell to animal lover Jack Haythornthwaite.

A shining light in Sabden has been diminished with the death of one of its most popular characters Mr Jack Haythornthwaite.

St Mary’s RC Church was packed last week with villagers wishing to say goodbye to “happy Jack” - a born and bred Sabdener who was always smiling, or if he wasn’t smiling he was almost certainly singing!

Right up to the day he suffered a stroke a few weeks ago Jack was out and about, as happy as ever and singing on the Friday night karaoke at the White Hart pub.

He celebrated his 87th birthday last month but his years belied his happy countenance and his zest for life.

Born the eldest of three children, he loved country life and had always kept animals – horses, dogs and hens on his allotment pen until recent times. He worked in the cotton mills in Sabden as a young man and it was there he met his late wife Doreen and they married and set up home in Thorn Street where they spent most of their married life until moving to a bungalow on Crowtrees in retirement.

Jack spent many years in the mills until they closed and he became an upholsterer at the former Pendle Furniture.

Outside of work his days were always filled, looking after his animals and singing and playing the drums in local pubs and clubs. Singing was one of the loves of his life and he was a popular member of the Village Folk Panto Group entertaining people with his excellent singing voice and his wicked sense of humour. A real community stalwart, he loved to support all types of village events, especially if they involved music. He was also a man with a strong faith and never missed Sunday Mass at St Mary’s Church where he sang the hymns in his own inimitable way and complained if they weren’t lively enough.

At his Requiem Mass Fr Frankie Mulgrew described Jack as a “true warrior”, a constant, a man who loved his village, his family and his church. Eulogies were given by his sons Brian and Ian who said he would be remembered as “happy Jack who greeted every morning with a song, who never had a bad word for anyone, and who spent his 87 years loving his family.”

The moving service included some of his favourite hymns and beautiful renditions of “Ave Maria” and “You Raise Me Up” by soprano Kathleen Wilkinson. The Mass was followed by commital at Burnley Crematorium . Jack leaves his sons, grandchildren,great-grandchildren and brother Raymond and a legion of friends who will miss him dearly.