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Loving tribute paid to Norfolk's oldest ever paper boy - probably

PUBLISHED: 13:30 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:47 06 January 2020

John Drake, who has died at the age of 88 having been a paper boy well into his 70s. Picture: Julian Nicholls

John Drake, who has died at the age of 88 having been a paper boy well into his 70s. Picture: Julian Nicholls

A loving tribute has been paid to a "happy chappy" who may well have been Norfolk's oldest ever paper boy.

John Drake, who was a paper boy well into his 70s. Picture: Sonya DuncanJohn Drake, who was a paper boy well into his 70s. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Born on January 20, 1931, John Drake, of Hall Road in Norwich, ran newsagents around the city for decades of his life and continued delivering the papers himself well into his 70s.

Mr Drake, who was born in Horley near London, moved to Norwich as a toddler and took over then Yallop's newsagents on Queens Road from his grandmother Alice Yallop - having delivered papers from the age of nine.

He went on to run the shop for a number of years, under a variety of names including J.F. Drakes and J&Y Supaprints, during which time he became well known around the city.

And after his retirement, he went from dishing out the headlines to making them, bucking the trend of youthful paper boys by continuing to deliver the Norwich Evening News himself.

Jason Drake, 28, his son, said: "As he got older he generally took on more and more paper rounds, just to keep himself busy really. He got me involved in paper routes from when I was rather young - about 12 - I used to sit in the back of the car because I was too young to go out and do them on my own."

Through his career he became a familiar face around the city and was a member of the Round Table organisation, Eaton Golf Club and the drummer in his own band - the Johnny Drake Quintet.

His son added: "It would take an age to walk around the city because somebody he knew would always stop him to say hello.

"He was quite a stern and old school father but he was also a kind, happy chappy about town."

He had four children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren and is survived by his second wife Supa, who cared for him over the last eight years of his life. He died on New Year's Day at 88.

His funeral service will take place at Colney Wood Green Acres, Woodland Hall, on Thursday, January 23 at 1pm, followed by a reception at The Unthank Arms on Newmarket Street. Family flowers only, donations to Alzheimer's Society via Allcock Funeral Directors.

Mr Drake has set up a website sharing memories of his father and raising awareness of Alzheimer's, which Mr Drake Snr battled in his later years.

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