Vale Michael Whitehead

NEW Norfolk veteran Michael Whitehead has died after a long illness, passing away yesterday afternoon at the New Norfolk Hospital. Mr Whitehead, 81, was a Londoner who went to war as a 15-year-old with the British Merchant Navy. He served as a gunner aboard the “Liberty Ships” that plied the treacherous north Atlantic route between the US and the UK to keep England supplied with essential imports during World War II.

Post-war, Mr Whitehead moved to Australia and served for a time with the Royal Australian Navy. He later had an enjoyable career as a commercial traveller which took him to most parts of New South Wales. In retirement he and second wife Jacky moved to Tasmania and settled in New Norfolk where both quickly became involved in the life of the community.

Mr Whitehead was a keen observer of the Derwent Valley Council and his civic activities included serving on the local Australia Day Committee. He was a supporter of developing links between the Derwent Valley and the town of Daian in Japan, and was involved in early discussions that led to the Derwent Valley Concert Band’s Japanese tour. Michael and Jacky also hosted many Japanese visitors at their home.

The couple were also strong supporters of the World Family of Norfolk and Norwich – an association of places named Norfolk or Norwich. They attended a World Gathering on Norfolk Island and were active in organising the 2008 World Gathering in New Norfolk for the town’s bicentenary.

One Comment

  1. Michael was a very honourable and respected gentleman and will be missed by many. In addition to the above, he also gave many volunteer hours to the local Visitor Information Centre. His funeral service was well attended today with an entertaining eulogy from his good friend Richard Parker and commemoration from the RSL. RIP Michael

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