Tributes to pillar of the community Jack

Jack and Roma Emmerton when they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary
Jack and Roma Emmerton when they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary

Tributes have been paid to a well known former policeman who once rescued three canoeists from the sea.

Jack Emmerton, of Mardale Crescent, Leyland, passed away last week following a battle with cancer, at the age of 92.

He was an active member of the community since moving to Leyland in 1961, as a former member of South Ribble Arts Forum when he ran art workshops at Worden Arts Centre and Runshaw College, former president of the RAF Leyland branch, a member of the Leyland Historical Society, and steward at the South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre.

He featured in the Guardian with his late wife Roma on Valentine’s Day in 2012, when they were named as Leyland’s longest married couple.

At the time, Jack (also known as John) said he met Roma when he was ‘footloose and fancy-free’ on Blackpool pier, when he worked for the RAF.

Two weeks after they were wed in 1942, Jack and Roma were separated when he was shipped abroad, but more than 1,000 letters later, they were reunited.

Their son Tony, 67, said: “Dad was a man of great valour, integrity and honour – a hard act to follow.”

Jack worked for Lancashire Constabulary for almost 30 years, joining the force in 1947, and climbing the ranks to Inspector.

He received a distinction from the Chief Constable and an award from the Royal Humane Society after helping to rescue three canoeists from Morecambe Bay when they got caught up in rough seas.

After retiring, Jack ran the print room at Runshaw College, and when Roma died in January last year, he joined Leyland’s FX Gym and took up swimming to keep active.

Jack leaves sons Tony, Mark, 53, grandchildren Davina, 38, Tim, 36, Caroline, 31, Daniel, 26, Andrew, 23 and great grandchildren Lauren, seven, and Charlotte, five.

His funeral will take place next Tuesday, April 29, at Charnock Richard Crematorium.