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Tributes are paid to Jack who gave his life to sport in West Norfolk

Sport in West Norfolk will never quite be the same following the passing of a legend who served our sporting community for more than four decades.

Jack Thorn, 83, was well-known across King’s Lynn after working with both King’s Lynn Football and West Norfolk Rugby Clubs as physiotherapist.

Tributes have been paid to Jack, who died last Friday following a battle with dementia, after a life dedicated to sport across the region.

He is survived by his wife Rosemary and son Andrew.


King’s Lynn Town Football Club stalwart Keith Rudd said: “Jack was our club/first team team physio when I took on the management in 1977.

“He was committed to looking after the welfare of the players travelling to all clubs around the country in the mini bus I drove to games. He was a vital member of our team, so honest and would do anything to support the team. The players respected the work he did.

“However, this didn’t stop some, in particular, Freddie Easthall and Richard Johnston loving to aggravate and wind him up. I often had to pull rank and give them a talking to.

“We didn’t have much money but there was a strong bond within our team, of which Jack was a vital part. We had many social evenings of which Jack and Rosemary were an integral support agency.

“There are so many great memories that we shared and it’s a sad time to lose him.”

After calling time with the Linnets, Jack had brief spells at Wisbech and Leverington Football Clubs before being persuaded to make the switch to rugby by Billy Burt.

Steve Smith, West Norfolk Rugby Club chairman, said: “All members who knew Jack were saddened to hear of the loss of a great stalwart and supporter of the club.

“Jack was a real character liked by all and, for more than 30 years, I along with many others received treatment from Jack and his bucket of water and magic sponge. He’d treat injured players twice a week and be at games every Saturday, home or away and in all weather.

“In later years Jack’s failing sight meant that we’d need to shout when injured so he could find you on the field, a true club man who’ll be greatly missed. We extend our sympathy to Rosemary and Andrew.”

For all his efforts on and off the field, Jack received the Nick Bean award for his services to sport at the Lynn News Sports Awards in 1995 – a year after suffering a heart attack which he refused to let stop his love of sport.

His wife Rosemary said: “He was out on the rugby pitch a year after his heart attack. He wouldn’t let it stop him.

“His best years were spent giving his life to sport, whether it was football or rugby. He spent 21 wonderful years with West Norfolk Rugby Club where he was greatly loved and appreciated by everyone.”

King’s Lynn Football Club and West Norfolk Rugby Club observed a minute’s silence before their respective weekend matches. Jack’s funeral will take place at Mintlyn Crematorium on Thursday, October 18, at 1pm, with the wake taking place at the rugby club afterwards.

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