With the death of Jack Figg last week, Wanstead has lost one of its particularly valued and lovely characters. Jack and his wife Billie were very much part of the Wanstead scene.
Born in Dagenham, Jack left school at the age of fourteen and went to work in Burlington Arcade in a cigar shop. After many and various jobs, he ended up as managing director of Norwegian Paper Mills. He was in the services during the war and on being demobbed joined the police force for a period as it seemed a fast track to a job when work was not easy to come by.
In 1989 on retirement from the Paper business, he joined his wife Billie in her enthusiasm for painting and that became a really important part of his life. At the same time, both Jack and Billie became very involved in Wanstead life, campaigning for the Evergreen Field and then becoming stalwart and energetic members of the Wanstead Society. They both loved Wanstead and were concerned about how it developed and were prepared to put in time and effort to preserve the best and to promote the place which had been their home for many years. Jack was a well recognised figure in the High Street on his daily shopping round, meeting and talking to locals. He was such a pleasure to talk to with a lovely sense of humour. A conversation with Jack always left one smiling. Those of us who knew him will count ourselves lucky. Our thoughts are with Billie.