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Tribute made to former Haverhill Show Society chairman, John Rook MBE

A former chairman of the Haverhill Show and a man of many parts, John Rook MBE, has been remembered as a ‘generous man’ who would do all he could to help others.

Mr Rook, died of cancer on May 30 at his home of 53 years, Birdbrook Hall, in Birdbrook. He was 74.

He was primarily an arable farmer, but had many other strings to his bow, not least the founding of The Lithium Club, a charity that offered support to people suffering from depression.

His work with the charity earned him an MBE in the 1999 New Year’s Honours list.

The altruistic nature of Mr Rook, a grandfather of eight, was something that has become even clearer to his family since his passing.

His middle son, Edward, who has two siblings, William and James, said: “He was an incredibly generous man. He was hugely fond and proud of his family and very generous to his children.

“We are finding out more now, but he was hugely generous to those around him.

“Whatever it would be, lots of things have come out of the woodwork.”

Mr Rook, who was married to his widow Sarah for 52 years, was chairman of the Haverhill Show Society for seven years and in 1971 was instrumental in preventing Birdbrook’s only pub, The Plough, from being closed.

He was a regular contributor to the Haverhill Echo and a published novelist (titled Grasping at Straw) and poet – one of his poems, The Hunt, will be read out at his funeral, which takes place at midday on June 14 at St Augustine’s Church, in Birdbrook.

He often fund-raised for good causes and once, in January 2008, sat in a bath of strawberry jelly to raise money for a wheelchair for a paralysed man from Haverhill, Stephen Bolton.

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