Granddaughter’s tribute to her ‘remarkable’ 100-year-old granddad

John Archer of Thurlow is taking his first flight to celebrate his 100th birthday
John Archer of Thurlow is taking his first flight to celebrate his 100th birthday

The granddaughter of much-loved Thurlow man John Archer has paid tribute to her ‘remarkable’ granddad, who has died at the age of 100.

Mr Archer hit the headlines in the Echo when he took his first ever flight in an aeroplane in May, just weeks before his 100th birthday.

In his final few months he packed a lot more in, also taking a trip in a glider, being treated to a birthday lunch and having his shopping paid for by Sainsbury’s in Haverhill and having a celebratory party at his local pub, the Cock in Thurlow.

Mr Archer was found dead at his home in Great Thurlow on November 18 from a suspected heart attack and his funeral at the village church on December 4 was attended by some 100 mourners.

Gillian Harrold, from Bury St Edmunds, said of her granddad: “He was a remarkable man. His memory was just incredible.

“You just thought, what would be next, a bungy jump or a tandem skydive.”

Mr Archer, who moved to Thurlow in the 1950s to work as a forester for the Thurlow Estate, would often be in his garden, and would measure the rainfall every day, said Gillian.

He also drove his car right up until his death, as Gillian explained: “He had got a lifetime membership badge from the RAC and a long service award for driving.

“He had done 77 years and that was the longest one they had.”

Mr Archer was married to his late wife Nora for 60 years, until her death a decade ago.

They had two daughters, Jane and Lesley, and he outlived them both.

Jane, who died in September, was mum to Gillian and James, and Lesley mum to Andrew and Tracy.

A tree was also planted in both Great and Little Thurlow to mark his 100th birthday.