People are being invited to line the street outside the home of one of Keswick’s last Second World War veterans before his funeral next week.
Jim Newstead, 94, was president of the Keswick branch of the Royal British Legion when he died exactly a week before this month’s VE75 commemorations.
A private funeral will take place at Carlisle crematorium on Thursday 21st May for Jim, who served in the British Army across much of Northern Europe during the 1939-45 conflict.
He was the oldest member of his local branch of the legion whose standard bearer will lower the flag outside Jim’s home at Greta Gardens as the funeral procession leaves at 1.45 pm.
“Jim’s family are happy if people want to come along and pay their respects, obviously while maintaining social distancing because of current restrictions,” said Ryan Swindale, Keswick RBL’s chairman and a fellow army veteran. “I think it would be nice if people could possibly space themselves from Booths down to Greta Gardens. I know members and friends are going to attend. He was such a kind-hearted and well-liked figure in our community,” he added.
Jim was a teenage soldier serving his country in Germany when the war in Europe ended on 8th May 1945. The father-of-five, who became a sergeant in the Welch Regiment, was described by his daughter Rosemary as a “special dad, grandad and brother who had a heart of gold.”
A celebration of his life is planned for later in the year once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted. It is expected to take place at St John’s Church, Keswick, and Nichol End Marine, Portinscale, where he had a boat for 50 years. Jim was also familiar to many people in Keswick through collecting donations at Booths supermarket every year for the annual poppy appeal.
Born in Norfolk, he had moved to Carlisle after the war before relocating to Keswick 18 years ago, initially living at Castlehead Close. His death was not linked to coronavirus.