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Tributes paid to much-loved father and musician Jack White

PUBLISHED: 19:09 21 June 2020 | UPDATED: 07:50 22 June 2020

Tributes have been paid to former Ipswich businessman and musician Jack

Tributes have been paid to former Ipswich businessman and musician Jack "White" Biggins Picture: ARCHANT

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to much-loved Ipswich musician and businessman Jack White.

Jack White formed an over-50s brass band in Ipswich, which is still running  Picture: LUCY TAYLORJack White formed an over-50s brass band in Ipswich, which is still running Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Mr White, born Jack Valentine Biggins on Valentine’s Day in 1932, was best known as “Jack White”, the man behind the electric organ in pubs across the town – and who later set up his own chain of music stores around Suffolk.

He sadly died from coronavirus aged 88 on April 18.

A Clifford Road and Northgate Grammar School pupil, Mr White’s early years were spent working as a fireman on steam locomotives, before serving as both a military and civilian policeman – but his childhood spent playing in a brass band meant his passion for music never left him.

Eventually returning home to Ipswich, he ran a mobile shop on the Chantry estate before building a small supermarket, fish and chip shop and hairdressers in Greenfinch Avenue with brother-in-law Bill Garrard.

Mr White, far right, while serving as a military policeman during national service  Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYMr White, far right, while serving as a military policeman during national service Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

But he was best known for his love of music – and for sharing it with those around him in pubs across the town.

Mr White’s daughter Heather Hearne, 61, said: “He was an extremely talented musician and could turn his hand to most musical instruments. From electronic organ to trombone, euphonium to piano accordion.

“He was known as Jack White the Music Man and was very well known and respected by many in the region.”

On a trip to see his daughter in New Zealand, Jack was challenged by a Christchurch brass band member to set up his own over 50s band in Ipswich, which continues to run after 25 years.

Mr White also loved to sail, in addition to playing music  Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYMr White also loved to sail, in addition to playing music Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

He and his wife Betty, who he met aged 15, would have celebrated 70 years of “adventure” this October.

Heather added: “When people talk about Jack it is always with a great fondness and admiration. They talk about his amazing life and achievements and speak of his warmth, generosity and his lovely smile – he had a great sense of humour.

“He was much loved by many and will be greatly missed. But there is no doubt, he lived life to the full with very few regrets, if any.”

She said her father “gave joy to so many” and will forever be missed for his positive impact on Ipswich.

Mr White and his wife Betty  Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYMr White and his wife Betty Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Mr White is survived by wife Betty, daughters Shirley, Sylvia, Heather and Joanne, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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