Reds and his weekly Observer keep Jack, 100, young at heart

John Norman
John Norman

The daughter of a man who has celebrated his 100th birthday said bringing him the Crawley Observer each week has helped keep him young.

John Frank Cressy Norman turned 100 on February 10.

The Deerswood Lodge, Ifield, resident, known as ‘Jack’, has always supported Crawley Town FC and was a season ticket holder until he was 80.

Angela Cornford, 65, of Horsham, has kept her father up to date on the club action as she has bought him the Crawley Observer every week.

Angela explained how he has stayed young at heart.

She said: “He’s a proud man. He has a very strong will and a lot of independence. He doesn’t want to be in bed. He will always be in his chair.

“He’s also very positive and looks at the good things in life rather than those things he’s lost through his age.”

Jack grew up in Albany Road, West Green, and enjoyed football and long distance running.

After attending a village school, in Ifield Road, Jack became a house painter until his late twenties when he was conscripted during the Second World War.

Although he was injured in the army and lost his ability to continue running, he managed to meet his future wife Kathleen, known as Kath.

Angela said: “He speaks about the war a lot. He talks about all the funny parts.

“He was smartly dressed in his blazer on his birthday with his Royal Regiment badge because he’s proud of that.”

After the war Jack travelled to Kath’s home in Nottinghamshire, where they married in 1946, but after finding there was no work there, they returned to West Green.

Kath became one of the first dinner ladies in Crawley, working in West Green Primary School and St Margaret’s School C of E Primary School.

Jack continued the work he knew and loved, house painting, until he retired at 70.

Kath died 12 years ago at the age of 83 and Jack moved to a care home when he was 91.

Angela said: “He never moved far from Albany Road, only around the corner possibly once or twice.

“Even at his residential home he’s still close-by!”