Epworth ‘Action Man’ loses his cancer battle

Footplate fantasies fulfilled by Jerry Lawrence.
Footplate fantasies fulfilled by Jerry Lawrence.

Tributes have flooded in following the death of a much-loved former teacher from Epworth.

Jerry Lawrence, of West End Road, lost his two-year battle against cancer at home on Sunday, April 7, with his family around him.

Just two days previously Mr Lawrence, 61, had celebrated the birth of his first grandchild, Eva, to his daughter Rebecca, 29.

The physics teacher at South Axholme for 34 years was fondly known as Action Man. He retired with teacher wife Anne in 2007 to launch their gardening business.

When his illness was diagnosed in 2010, Mr Lawrence rediscovered his childhood passion for steam trains.

His son, Daniel, 25, said: “For a half-pound bag of tea, Jerry as a youngster was allowed to ride on the footplates of the locos. Forty-eight years later, this story was published by Tetley in a book entitled ‘You, Me and a Cup of Tea’.”

Mr Lawrence grew up in Rotherham and spent a year in the Merchant Navy before starting his teaching career. He married Anne in 1974.

The couple restored their ex-farmhouse in West End Road, after selling Mr Lawrence’s former family home in West Butterwick.

Following his death tributes have been posted on the old Axholme school’s Facebook website.

James Starinthehood Marshall posted “Oh no that’s terrible news. R.I.P Mr Lawrence.” While Rebecca Armstrong said: “What sad news he was a great man will be missed by many. xxxx”

Linzi Mitchell added “He was a brilliant teacher and always made you smile.“ And Roxanne Norouzi posted: “That’s so sad. He made me like science.”

A keen pianist, Mr Lawrence had his own model railway and scores of Airfix model planes. His funeral service took place on Friday at Epworth Wesley Memorial Methodist Church.