John Lane, 1939-2019

Tidings, October 2019

With great sadness, I write of the passing of my father Mr John Lane on 22 August 2019, aged 79. John was the one and only son of Leslie and Lilian Lane and now, as he wished, he has been laid to rest beside them in Geldeston churchyard.


For most of his life, John lived in Geldeston. He never ventured outside the United Kingdom, and never, to my knowledge, flew in an aeroplane or travelled on a train. He was an out and out country boy.

For people new to Geldeston I should explain that for many years my father ran the nurseries on the Dowson Estate, supplying the village shop as well as the Wherry Inn with fresh vegetables as well as flowers which were sent daily by train to London. In the early 1990s, the nurseries supplied a shop in Beccles run by my mother Heather. I can remember selling strawberries picked at the nurseries to the Broads traffic at the Locks Inn: they always sold out.

At the nurseries John had help, of course, from his parents Leslie and Lilian and from many other local people: Lily Moar, John’s best friend Nigel Woolner, Simon Rumsby (who is now my brother in law), my best friend Mark Lewis, David Barber and his mother from Kell’s Way, and others whose names I cannot now recall. They are there in the photographs, which also show Nigel Canham from the Hall Farm who helped with heavy groundwork. During wintertime we made holly wreaths and more local people were involved, again supplying local shops and businesses.

My father was a very hard-working man, with hands like shovels – just like his father Leslie – and the hours he worked were endless, providing for three children: myself, Patricia and Marcus.

As people who knew him appreciated, John loved coarse fishing above all else, especially in his later years. He enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of being at one with nature; thinking, or not thinking, as the case may be, only added to that enjoyment. That side to his life is captured by a wonderful picture of him, standing next to his father Leslie, eel picking in the Wherry Dyke.

John Frederick Osborne Lane went to the village school in Geldeston. He was a true Geldestonian and longed to move back here, but, alas, it was not to be.


John leaves behind his devoted wife Heather; his son and daughter-in-law Stephen and Saithong, and their children Naomi and Lucas; his daughter Patricia and son-in law Simon, and their daughter Francesca Rumsby.

I shall move forward, remembering all the positive things that happened in our life together and what great support father gave us as the parents of his beloved grandchildren.

I’m the last living Lane in a photograph that hangs in our kitchen. It shows me on my great grandfather Hubert’s lap, sitting outside Mildred Cottage, the very house we live in today: Leslie Lane, my grandfather sits to the left, and my father John to the right (behind them stands my great grandmother Edith).

Stephen Lane

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