'Icon of the village' tributes to blacksmith Alec Jacobs

Blacksmith and inventor Alec Jacobs who died earlier this month, surrounded by his family

Blacksmith and inventor Alec Jacobs who died earlier this month, surrounded by his family - Credit: Jacobs family

The family of a blacksmith from Kirton, who invented the 'yacht cradle' have spoken of their love of a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather who lived in the Suffolk village for almost his whole life. 

Alec Jacobs, who was 91, died at home on Friday October 15, surrounded by his family - after being diagnosed with bowel cancer seven months ago. 

Describing the skilled blacksmith and inventor as an "icon of the village", his son Steve, 63, who works in the family business at E Jacobs and Sons at Kirton Forge said he "couldn't have had a better father." 

Blacksmith Alec Jacobs

Blacksmith Alec Jacobs working in the family business at Kirton Forge - Credit: Contributed by family

Mr Jacobs, who would have been celebrating his 65th wedding anniversary with his beloved wife Marie this December, has left his legacy all over the village - where he is believed to have been one of the oldest residents. 

He made the Kirton village sign as well as the gates at St Mary & St Martin church where his funeral will take place on November 8. 

Steve, who will continue working in the family business with his son Ross, said up until a few weeks ago his father would still visit the Forge insisting he wanted to answer the phone. 

He said: "I know he is my father but he was very, very popular, he would do anything to help anybody.

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"He was good to me and my brother Nigel and his grandchildren and great grandchildren - the great grandchildren used to call him Grandad pops, they loved him to bits."

Born on June 2, 1930, in Woolverstone, Mr Jacobs completed his national service with the Royal Engineers in Aldershot working on the railways. His son said: "He used to moan about the army but I know in his heart of hearts he loved it." 

It was in 1982 that Mr Jacobs invented the yacht cradle which was patented and used all over the world as an easier way of getting boats out of the water. It was even used by the crew on the Royal Yacht Britannia. 

It was on December 22, 1956 that he married Marie - who described her husband as a "wonderful man". 

Alec Jacobs and his wife Marie Jacobs 

Alec Jacobs and his wife Marie Jacobs - Credit: Jacobs family

Mr and Mrs Jacobs met through Marie's love of dancing - friendship turned to romance after he asked her if she would like to go to the pictures with him.

Mrs Jacobs, 84, said: "He missed out on his 90th birthday because of Covid but my two sons arranged a party for his 91st. 

"I have never been able to get all my grandchildren together and that time we had them all together, I looked up to Alec and I said to him 'Alec there were only two of us, look what we have achieved' and there were 20 family members there, it was a lovely, lovely day for him." 

She added: "He was such a lovely person, I just loved him." 

Mrs Jacobs wanted to thank the staff at St Elizabeth Hospice for the way they cared for her husband in his final months. She said: "The nurses from the hospice kept him pain free, the care they gave him was phenomenal, they were wonderful."

The funeral of Alec Jacobs will take place at St Mary & St Martin Church, Kirton, at 12pm on November 8.

You can donate to a GoFund me page for St Elizabeth's Hospice set up by Alec's son Nigel,  at justgiving.com/fundraising/nigel-jacobs2 - more than £1,285 has already been raised in Mr Jacob's memory. 

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