09:00AM, Thursday 07 August 2014
A popular village butcher has passed away aged 87.
Norman Leonard Joseph Jennings started working full time at his father's shop, L.J.Jennings in Twyford High Street, when he was 14 years old.
Born on August 21, 1926, to Dorothy and Leonard Joseph Jennings, he was the eldest of six children.
At the age of 18, he went to Colchester to train in the army and would have been sent off to fight in the Second World War, but was called home as his father was dying.
Norman was still only 18 years old when his father died and he took on the business and the responsibility of providing for his mother and younger brothers and sisters.
Butchers came under the list of reserved occupations in the Second World War, meaning they were exempt from conscription as they were needed at home.
The Jennings Butchers chain expanded over the years, with shops run by family members in Twyford, Wargrave, Hurst, Earley, Reading and Caversham.
"He was really larger than life, a real extrovert, very much a character," said his daughter, Louise Miller.
"He was really, really proud to be a butcher and follow in his father's footsteps."
Norman was a drummer in the Top Five, a band which played at dance halls in the area.
He met his wife, Pamela Wheeler, when he was playing at the Pearson Hall in Sonning and they married in 1949.
The couple had four daughters, Shannon, Vanessa, Louise and Hannah, and a son, Mark, who sadly died in infancy.
After Pamela's death in 1998, Norman sold the original butchers shop and moved to a more modern premises on the other side of the High Street.
The grandfather-of-10 retired at the age of 76 after 62 years of working life.
The funeral will be held at 11am on August 21 at St Thomas More Roman Catholic Church in London Road, Twyford. The wake will be held afterwards at the Waggon and Horses pub in the High Street, Twyford.
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