Appeal to give Royal Navy veteran who died without any family the funeral he deserves

Jack Simpson, pictured at his care home.
Jack Simpson, pictured at his care home.
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Services veterans have issued a rallying cry urging people to provide a packed send-off for a Royal Navy veteran who died without any family.

Members of the Royal British Legion want folk to attend the funeral of John Simpson, who was known as Jack, who passed away in a Seaham care home on December 4 at the age of 82.

Derek Bland, as he pays tribute to another serviceman as part of the Royal British Legion's work.

Derek Bland, as he pays tribute to another serviceman as part of the Royal British Legion's work.

Staff at Lindisfarne House, in King Edward Road, Dawdon, say they knew little about his background, because he was dysphasic, which meant he struggled to communicate.

They know after leaving the Navy, he moved around and suffered mental health problems. He moved into Lindisfarne in July 2009, as it cares for people with dementia.

The legion has already arranged for various officials to attend Monday’s service at Durham Crematorium.

Its County Durham Riders Branch will also be present.

We want to be there so that we can remember what he did for our country.

Derek Bland

And as the word is passed around members and other military organisations, it has issued an appeal for anyone who would like to pay their respects to join in.

Derek Bland, who lives in Parkside in Seaham and is a committee member of the Northumbria branch of the legion, said: “We want to be there so that we can remember what he did for our country.

“We want the word to be sent around.

“I took a phone call asking if I could help and I said of course. We will have standard bearers and will try and get as many legion members there as we can, as well as other veterans.”

Sheryl Goodfellow, manager of the home, said: “We know very little about him unfortunately.

“He got back from the war and then moved around and I don’t think he was a very well man.

“Jack loved Elvis and danced when he could. He lost his mobility, but he loved it when he came on at parties.

“Until recently he played snooker and one of the things he could say was ‘Give me a tab.’

“He could let you know if he wanted something, he could express that, and he had a little twinkle in his eye. He was a lovely man.”

Monday’s service will be held at the crematorium, off the A177 South Durham Road, at 11am.