21st November, 1909 – 27th February, 1999
Jack came to Wivenhoe from Laxfield, as a young man in his early twenties, the second oldest of six children, three boys and three girls. He left school at 14 and became an apprentice carpenter and joiner to a Mr Watson of Baddington in Suffolk. He was a brilliant tradesman and Jack became his star pupil.
Having served his apprenticeship, he applied for and secured a post with Mr Gooch at Wivenhoe Park House. Jack went on to become foreman carpenter, helping to restore Wivenhoe Park House under the supervision of the architectural firm of Duncan, Clark and Beckett, after the house had been used the army during the second world war.
When he first came to Colchester, he lived in the New Town area, then nearer to the Park at the bottom of Clingoe Hill. He attended night school to further his education where he met, and befriended, Harold Raven. Jack later married Harold’s sister, Lilian, in 1937, and moved to one of the estate cottages in Colchester Road, almost opposite Boundary Road.
Jack and Lilian had two children while in the cottage, Tony and Jill. Tony is often to be seen driving around Wivenhoe in his J.R.Waites van, on his way to fix someone’s washing machine or deliver an electrical appliance to a house. Jill went on to marry John Parsonson, a surveyor in Colchester, whom she first met at the age of 14 through scouting.
The scout movement had played a significant part in Jack’s life. His father had died when he was only seven and from all accounts he had endured a hard and sad childhood; the happiest times were spent at scout meetings and events.
The cub and scouting influence continued some time after he and Lilian married as she became a cub mistress in Colchester. John and Jill were encouraged to join the cubs and brownies. Tony went on to become a Queen’s Scout and Jill helped her mother to run the Cub Pack.
In 1953, Jack moved to No.17 Colchester Road, then another Estate house but two years later bought it from Mr Gooch, and extended it to look as it does now.
With the support of his wife, in 1956, he left Mr Gooch and started in business on his own as a carpenter and decorator. When she died in 1964, aged just 50, devastated by her death, he took a job as a carpenter with Trumans, the brewery firm in West Bergholt.
In 1967, his elderly mother decided he should take another wife and introduced him to Hilda, a widow also from Laxfield. For companionship, he married Hilda, a god-fearing woman who became a loyal supporter of the Wivenhoe Congregational Church.
Jack became a familiar figure in Wivenhoe, doing work for people, and later driving his pride and joy, a green Morris 1000, or riding his black push-bike. He also loved pottering around in his garden and took every opportunity to show people around it.
With failing health of Hilda, he moved to the west side of Colchester, to a bungalow, to be closer to his daughter, Jill, who saw him every day.
He lived in Wivenhoe for over 60 years. He was a character. Those who had the pleasure of knowing him will remember one of his favourite sayings "How lovely you are" whenever you said anything complimentary or amusing.
There is a bench seat close by Wivenhoe Sailing Club’s slipway, in memory of Jack. A collection taken at his funeral in St Mary’s Church also paid for the Jack Revell Cup, a trophy to be competed for between Wivenhoe Cubs and the Brownies.