Jim Reeves – Tribute
Jim involved himself in many local activities, most notably as an active founder member of the village Website committee (now Burton Bradstock ONLINE). The committee was formed in 1999 to create the village web site for the Millennium. He was the only member with absolutely no idea about computers or the web, but he bought his sales management experience to bear, successfully haranguing local businesses to buy advertising space on the site until 2013! A major reason for our success. He will be greatly missed.
Jim (James Edward) Reeves was born on the Eighth of November 1918, three days before the Armistice was signed marking the end of World War One.
His family lived in Wooburn Green village in the Chilterns. The son of a papermaker and paper cutter, Jim attended Wooburn Green Elementary School before joining Thomas and Green Papermakers as a junior office boy at Soho mill in the village at the age of 14. Jim threw himself into the paper trade, learning his craft from the shop floor. Even then, Jim threw himself into village social life, conveniently focused around the Red Lion pub!
As soon as war broke out, he signed up to fight along with many of his comrades in the paper trade. Gunner 948134 J.E. Reeves was assigned to the 5th Survey Regiment of the Royal Artillery.
He was first shipped out with the regiment to take part in Operation Torch in 1942, the British and American invasion of North Africa..
Later, he served a considerable time in Italy (where he became very fond of the country and the Italians),
and then eventuially in Austria.
Shortly after he was demobbed, Jim met his wife to be, Dorothy on an evening out with friends. After a whirlwind romance they married at Wooburn Green Parish Church on 12th February 1947, then retreated to their local, The Red Lion pub for a reception of beer and sandwiches, followed by a honeymoon in a boarding house in Brighton.
Jim quickly picked up his career in the paper trade after the war, but soon decided to move into, what turned out to be, a very successful career in sales based in London, selling high quality, specialised paper products.
Their only child, Barbara was born on 3rd June 1950. Barbara, subsequently married David Powell in 1984, both teachers in High Wycombe, and when David was offered the headship of Burton Bradstock village school, they all moved to the village where they have lived ever since.
The Royal British Legion became a focus for Jim in retirement, and he worked tirelessly in Burton Bradstock as the secretary of the local branch, organizing events and visiting old soldiers in need of company.
Dorothy survives Jim, but has had to move to a local care-home, Bymead in Charmouth, where her needs are so well met.
Jim lived for long enough to welcome his first great grandchild into the family. Amelia-Rose Bemment was born in July 2014. She had visited Jim along with his grandchildren just before he finally slipped away and Jim was able greet them from his chair at home with his customary smile and wave.
Even in his last days he would struggle up in his favourite chair and with a twinkle in his eyes respond to carers, doctors and family who enquired after his health with these words - ‘I say to myself, Reeves, when I think of how lucky I am compared to those less fortunate than me, I count my blessings’.
His love of Italy, the Italian people, and their way of life never left Jim Reeves. All through his life and in his last few weeks, Jim would gently thank all who cared for him with a quiet ‘Molto Grazi, Dankeschön bitteschön’
Jim died peacefully at home on 14th February, 2015