Tributes to Hatfield couple who died on the same day after 65 years together

PUBLISHED: 14:34 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:34 18 January 2017

John and Peggy Allcroft's wedding in 1954

John and Peggy Allcroft's wedding in 1954

Archant

A joint funeral was held last week for a devoted Hatfield couple who worked for many years at the town’s famous aircraft factory, but died on the very same day.

John and Peggy Allcroft in retirementJohn and Peggy Allcroft in retirement

Last Wednesday’s funeral of Peggy and John Allcroft was held at St Etheldreda’s Church, where they married on March 22, 1954.

John spent 38 years at the factory, seeing it change identities between de Havilland, Hawker Siddeley and British Aerospace, and rising to chief performance engineer.

Although they met at the sports and social club in 1951, shorthand typist Peggy did not start working there until 20 years later.

She was born in Old Hatfield into the Pearman family, but John was brought up in Cambridge, where he excelled both academically and at sport, despite a life-threatening illness at 14.

Their daughter Julia Waller, who lives in Stag Green Avenue, said: “Dad was a very clever man. He was always on the go, always doing something or mending something.

“He did love his job. He was fascinated by aeroplanes, and always wanted to take us to air shows.”

After winning a scholarship to become a de Havilland apprentice in 1950, John worked on early jets such as the pioneering Comet airliner, the Venom and the Sea Vixen.

His career was interrupted by two years’ National Service in the RAF, where he specialised in radar, but he returned to his true vocation in Hatfield in 1959.

John’s responsibilities grew with seniority, and he progressed to work on the Hawker Siddeley Trident, and the last production aircraft, the British Aerospace 146.

Meanwhile Peggy had given birth to Julia in 1957, and sons Robert and Richard in 1963 and 1964.

John took early retirement in 1988, but his wife stayed until 1991.

They enjoyed several holidays together in their retirement, which came to a sad end on December 11.

Although fit and active until late last year, John’s death in the Lister Hospital was not unexpected, as the 84-year-old had been diagnosed with lymphoma in November.

But 83-year-old Peggy’s death that evening was a complete shock to her family, who had been discussing John’s funeral with her just a few hours earlier.

Julia told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I think Mum died of a broken heart. She could not live without Dad; they had been together over 65 years.”


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