Brother of tragic verger pays tribute

THE brother of a verger who fell 30ft to his death just moments after a wedding service today paid tribute to a “caring and true servant of the church”.

Laurence Cawley

THE brother of a verger who fell 30ft to his death just moments after a wedding service today paid tribute to a “caring and true servant of the church”.

Jack Sturgeon, 80, fell from the church tower at St Mary's Church in Mildenhall on Saturday afternoon.

The tragedy happened after the wedding of Kelly Brown and Brian Keane. Mr Sturgeon had finished ringing the bells before his fall from the tower. At the time of the accident, Mr Sturgeon's wife Beryl, 81, was in the church helping to clear up.


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It is believed Mr Sturgeon, a bell-ringer, had climbed to an upper level of the church tower to look at the clock when he fell. It is understood Mr Sturgeon may have suffered a heart attack.

Mr Sturgeon's brother Peter today told how he had a wealth of experience of working at height during his career as a radio and television repair man.

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“After leaving school Jack became an apprentice electrician with Parker Brothers, the Millers in Mildenhall, Later he progressed into Radio and Television repairs with the same family run business,” he said.

“He spent many hours on rooftops installing the then, new fangled television system.

“As the Flour Mill expanded into cattle feed products, jack became responsible for the maintenance of the Mill machinery, steam generation equipment and electrical installation.

“His whole working life was spent with the Parker Brothers family business, which in latter years was run by Bernard Parker.

“During the course of his life Jack became an active member of St Mary's Parish Church as a verger, a position he held for more than 40 years.

“With his natural talents he maintained the electrical and heating systems as well as the maintenance of the Bell mechanisms. He was also an active bell ringer.

“He took care of the church clock, which had to be regularly wound by hand. He was supported in his duties as verger by his wife Beryl.

“He spent endless hours attending these duties as well as preparations for the normal services and special occasions. It was after the occasion of a wedding and completion of the bell ringing that he sadly passed away.

“A caring and true servant of the Church, well known and liked by many he will be sorely missed.”

Mr Sturgeon is survived by his wife Beryl and his two daughters Valerie and Ann.

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