Tributes paid to loved family man, 100, who 'always had a smile on his face'

Tributes have been paid to a much loved family man who ‘treated everyone with respect’ and ‘always had a smile on his face’.

Joseph Pickering, of Great Harwood, passed away on June 15 from sepsis at Royal Blackburn Hospital, aged 100. The beloved father-of-two settled in Great Harwood in 1988 and he became well known in the community for his uplifting spirit.

His daughter, Diane, said: “He treated everyone with respect and everyone loved him. They thought he was great and he always had a smile on his face.

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“As children we went camping all over England and he would come to Australia to see me and my brother, Peter.”

In another six months, Joseph would have turned 101-years-old. Joseph, who was affectionately known as Joe, enjoyed a party for his 100th birthday at Tesco in Great Harwood where he would have breakfast once a week and became very popular amongst staff and customers.

Councillor for Spring Hill, Kimberly Whitehead joined the party along with his friends and his family from Australia. He was delighted to receive a birthday card from King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Councillor Whitehead said: “I first met Joe over a decade ago when I helped him after a fall, our bond was instant and we’ve good friends ever since. I was privileged to spend Joe’s final days with him and I will always cherish the moments we shared and the bond we forged over the years.

“His passing leaves a void that words cannot fill. Joe’s journey through a century was not just a testament to his resilience and strength but a collection of countless stories that I’ll never forget.

“His warmth, wisdom and sense of humour will be deeply missed.”

Joseph was born in Blackburn to parents Lawrence and Florence and was raised in the area with his late brother, James. The devoted grandfather-of-six worked for Whitbreads in Blackburn as a sales representative for around 15 years.

He moved to Hyndburn in the 1990s and worked for GE in Clayton and then retired. The adored great-grandfather-of-15 enjoyed travelling around the town and he would be spotted in various places including at Mercer Hall Baths’ cafe where he enjoyed breakfast or lunch.

People would chat with him while he was going about his day and remember him fondly for brightening up their days and bringing a smile to people’s faces. Joseph was featured in the Observer in 2020 after his iron gate was stolen from outside his Great Harwood home on St Hubert’s Road.

Just two days later, a company named Sid Hill Gardening Services had made and fitted a new gate free of charge for Joseph who was extremely thankful. The great-great-grandfather-of-three joined the Royal Navy in 1942 as an able bodied seaman and always remembered and honoured the fallen.

Last November he was seen attending a Remembrance Day service in Great Harwood to pay his respects. Joseph, who loved a game of bingo, married his beloved wife, Evelyn in 1947 at Blackburn Registrar Office.

Joseph’s funeral will take place at Accrington Crematorium on Wednesday, July 10 at 12.20pm. His family have requested no flowers.

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