Charity donations flood in as lifelong friends pay tribute to Thorp House Nursing Home resident Jackie
Tributes have been paid to a “social butterfly” who was an active member of the Brundall community and a stalwart and founding member of Brundall Twinning Association.
Jackie Warnes was living with dementia during her final years and spent the last 11 months of her life in Thorp House Nursing Home, Griston, near Watton, impressing staff and fellow residents with her warmth and sense of fun.
Following her death at the age of 79 and her funeral at a packed St Andrew and St Peter Church, in Blofield, her family launched an online fundraiser for Dementia UK in her memory.
Reflecting her popularity and standing in the community, the appeal has quickly reached a total of £1,500.
Her daughter Nicky said: “MND is getting a lot of high-profile publicity at the moment, through rugby players, but people must not forget that there is no cure for dementia either, and it affects far more people.
“Mum got away lightly compared to many others but the more money raised to fight this horrible illness and support people living with it, the better.”
Mrs. Warnes also had a son Gavin, now living in New Jersey, in the US, and two grandchildren, Seb and Lucas.
She had moved to the Norwich area with her family in the early 1960s and worked for Anglia Television in a variety of roles for many years.
During his funeral eulogy, Gavin said: “Mum was all about friendship. While her parents were away on holiday she threw a party. One of her friends from Anglia, Jean Donno, brought along her friends David Lane and his work colleague, Mike.
“Mum thought Mike was a real charmer apart from the fact that his ears stuck out. He also had the added attraction of owning a Ford Anglia!
“They married in September 1965 and bought their bungalow in Brundall in January 1967, just in the nick of time as I arrived a week later.”
As a young mother, Mrs. Warnes made lifelong friendships through playgroup, Brundall Primary School, Anglia TV and Blofield Tennis Club.
Gavin said: “Mum and Dad were lifelong Francophiles and founding members of Brundall Twinning Association. They would always participate in the annual exchange visits and in the years to come their garden was the venue for large parties of their ever-expanding circle of friends.
“The twinning brought them great joy. We have received touching messages of condolences from twinning friends on both sides of the Channel.”
When her husband was made redundant in 1985, they launched their own business, Florscene, installing flooring for house-building firms, which prospered through their hard work.
Gavin said: “Florscene allowed Mum and Dad to travel widely on multiple visits to the Far East, Australia, Africa, much of Europe, Canada and the US.”
In retirement, Mrs. Warnes loved being a grandmother and travelling with her husband and friends, including a long road trip through California with the “Golden Girls”.
Following her husband’s death, she found great comfort and friendship as a parishioner at Blofield Church.
Gavin said: “Mum struggled with ill health during the last three years of her life. Nicky and I will be forever grateful to the wonderful staff at Thorp House Nursing Home who were tremendously kind to Mum and grew to love her too.
“Once she settled, Mum became part of the fabric of the home, wandering the hallways, sitting in the manager’s office to chat and helping to fold the laundry.”
The family presented two wheelchairs to Thorp House in Mrs. Warnes’ memory and donated her vast collection of arts materials to the home.
Thorp House activities coordinator Marcia Hughes said: “Jackie was really popular with resident and staff alike.
“She was always chatty and helpful. She loved our coffee mornings and adored a good old chin wag; she also loved dancing and gardening.
“She came alive when she danced and infected everyone around her with her lovely sense of humour. We had a lot of fun together.”
Find out more about Thorp House nursing home
Author: Stephen Pullinger