Much-loved Dereham RAF veteran, George Lockett, dies aged 76

George Lockett, 1940-2017. Photo: Glenys Lockett

George Lockett, 1940-2017. Photo: Glenys Lockett - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to the much-loved former chairman of the Dereham RAF association.

George Robert Lockett, a former airman, was born in County Durham, on October 4, 1940, and grew up in Coventry.

He met his wife, Glenys, in 1957, when they were both just 16. The couple exchanged letters while George was training in Wales.

They continued to write while he was stationed in Yemen, and were engaged at Christmas 1961.

Mr and Mrs Lockett married on Bastille Day, July 14, in 1962. Their daughter, Valerie, was born a year later, when the family were living at an RAF base, in Lincolnshire.

In 1965 Mr Lockett was posted to Cyprus, and in the 1970s, Germany. Throughout his career he trained younger airmen, and in 1987 daughter Valerie even married one, Martin Cropper.

Mr Lockett continued in active service with the air force until reaching retirement age in 1995.

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However, according to his wife, he couldn't quite settle into retired life, and found part-time work when they came to live in Dereham, in security, in a school, and as a carer, where he loved looking after people.

Mrs Lockett said: 'He joined the RAF association in Dereham, and became president of the branch for a three year term. That was 12 years ago now.'

Mr Lockett also managed the Dereham Wings Appeal, the airforce charity, and represented the airforce at the Dereham Battle of Britain and Remembrance day parades and events.

Mr Lockett was taken ill with lymphoma at Christmas 2016. He had suffered with kidney failure since 2000, and been the recipient of a double kidney transplant in June 2011.

Mrs Lockett said: 'The generosity of the gift of those kidneys gave us those six years'.

'After 60 years together, half of me is missing. It wasn't all fireworks and sparkles; it was a contented glow.'

She added that she had been 'upheld by all the kind words, and the cards, and the sadness in the voices of the people who knew George, and who will miss him.'

Mr Lockett passed away on August 3, 2017, aged 76, leaving his wife, daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters, Laura and Sarah.

The funeral will be at Cowper Church, Dereham, at 1.30pm on September 1, with a committal at Horsham St Faith, at 3.30pm.

Family flowers only, but donations to Cowper Church or the Wings Appeal are welcomed.