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Charity worker heartbroken after coronavirus stops friends and family attending her father’s funeral

PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:38 05 April 2020

Jack Fincham, former school caretaker and member of Norwich Nature Friends, who has died aged 96 in March 2020. Picture: Julie Bennett

Jack Fincham, former school caretaker and member of Norwich Nature Friends, who has died aged 96 in March 2020. Picture: Julie Bennett

Julie Bennett

The daughter of a passionate nature campaigner has said it is heartbreaking that his many friends and family cannot be at his funeral because of coronavirus restrictions.

Jack Fincham during a reed cutting session with the Norwich Nature Friends.  Picture: Sent in by Julie BennettJack Fincham during a reed cutting session with the Norwich Nature Friends. Picture: Sent in by Julie Bennett

Jack Fincham, 96, who was known as the butterfly man of Sprowston and was a popular caretaker at the former Woodside First and Middle School on Norwich’s Heartsease Estate, died on March 21 at the Bowthorpe Care Village.

Jack Fincham, who died in March 2020, taking part in Crown green bowls which he enjoyed during retirement. Picture: Julie BennettJack Fincham, who died in March 2020, taking part in Crown green bowls which he enjoyed during retirement. Picture: Julie Bennett

His daughter, Julie Bennett, 65, from New Mills Yard in Norwich, is one of the few people who can attend his funeral at Earlham Crematorium on April 8.

The charity finance officer said: “It is heartbreaking that this virus has meant that family and friends who would like to say goodbye to him cannot because we can only have 10 people at the funeral. It breaks my heart because I couldn’t see him in the last week of his life.”

That was because of coronavirus lockdown restrictions at Mayflower Court where her father, who had dementia, was being cared for at the time of his death which is not linked to coronavirus.

She said: “My father was a smiling man. He never said a bad thing about anyone. He was kind and happy and always had fun. He had numerous friends across the world, Britain and in Norwich. He was a big family man.”

Mr Fincham was born in what is now Norwich’s Mile Cross Estate and after leaving school at 14 he started work at the city’s former Boulton and Paul factory, which was involved in aircraft manufacturing. He left in 1954 after suffering a major slipped disc from a fall.

Mr Fincham, married Audrey Groom, who died in 2006, and joined the Heartsease school as a caretaker in 1960 where he lived and worked until 1984.

Mrs Bennett said: “He typified what the word said. He took care of everyone. He was a father figure.”

She added her father lived a full retirement and was passionate about nature, wildlife, breeding butterflies and Norwich yellow crested canaries.

He was a founding member of the Norwich Nature Friends, which involved looking after wildlife and was heavily involved in protecting Mousehould Heath.

Mr Fincham, a great-great grandfather, who lived in Sprowston for nearly 40 years, earned the title of butterfly man after breeding hundreds of butterflies in his conservatory.

Donations can be made to Dementia UK and should be sent to John Brown Funeral Services on 102 North Walsham Road, Norwich, NR6 7QQ.


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