A south Warwickshire man who spent 70 years serving his local church community has died at the aged of 84.
John Tarver, who featured in the Courier last year when he celebrated his diamond wedding anniversary with his wife Pat, died after a short illness just before Christmas.
He first began working for St George’s church in Newbold Pacey at the age of 11, helping his father tend to the garden.
Born at Club Cottages in Ashorne, Mr Tarver was a pupil at Wellesbourne School during the Second World War, but he did two years of national service, working on reorganising the army’s transport system.
He also worked as a farmer and van driver, before becoming the manager of Wylie’s Ironmongers in Warwick.
But in his spare time, Mr Tarver remained faithful to supporting his church - which had been looked after by three generations of the Tarver family for 115 years. He took on various roles which included bellringer, organ boy, parish treasurer, church warden and church fete organiser - as well as vice-chairman of the village parish council for 27 years. He and his wife were recognised for their years of loyal service when they attended a Buckingham Palace garden party in 2001 - and as recently as October, he was still working at the churchyard for ten hours a week.
It was fitting then that his funeral, which took place in early January, was held at his much-loved church in Newbold Pacey.
He met his wife Pat at a wedding in Brandon in the early 1950s and since the couple were married themselves 60 years ago, they have contined to live in the same cottage in Newbold Pacey. She says the couple always shared household chores - including cleaning and cooking - equally, adding: “He was a wonderful, kind man and he’d do anything for anyone. He was devoted to the church and did so much in the parish, they’re already finding it hard to replace him.
“Our family and I would like to thank the doctors and nurses of Mary Ward who looked after him and the Rev John Parker who arrived just an hour after he passed away.
“We also want to thank everyone who sent condolences and attended his funeral, plus undertakers R.Locke for their arrangements and Bruce who supported us so caringly. Despite the sorrow, we’ll always remember John with smiles on our faces.”