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Jack Woolley 1919 to 2014

Thursday 2 January 2014, 19:05

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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jack-woolley-1024x576.jpg Arnold Peters (Jack Woolley)

The eventful life of Ambridge's most powerful businesman. 

1919 Jack Woolley was born on 19 July in the Birmingham suburb of Stirchley. 

1939 - 1945 During the war Jack was a fire warden in Stirchley. He didn't fight because he had a bad chest which made him unfit for the army. At the time he was mortified but later realised he was one of the lucky ones. 
1957 Jack's first wife died. They had no children. 
1960s - Unhappy match
1962 Having been successful in business, Jack Woolley bought Grey Gables Hotel and Country Club. He moved into Ambridge Hall. 1963 Jack gave a job to fellow Brummie and Ambridge newcomer Sid Perks. When Sid and his first wife Polly were married, Jack lent them a car for their honeymoon. 
1965 Jack married glamorous widow Valerie Trentham. Jack and Ralph Bellamy went into partnership, buying the Grenville Estate, which included Arkwright Hall. As a pushy incomer, he quickly upset the old establishment. Jack suffered his first heart attack. 
1966 John Higgs started work as Jack's chauffeur. Valerie started a series of affairs 
1967 In July, Jack legally adopted Hazel. In December Valerie left him, Hazel staying in Ambridge 
1970s - Riding high
1972 In a big expansion of the Woolley empire, Jack became owner of the shoot, opened the golf course in the Country Park and bought the village shop. 
1973 Jack's health was suffering and the doctors warned him he might suffer another coronary if he didn't ease up. So he decided to drop all interests outside of Ambridge and put his personal assistant - Peggy Archer - in charge of business connected with the Country Park. Persuaded by Hazel, Jack sold Ambridge Hall to Laura Archer and moved into Grey Gables. In May there was a robbery at the hotel. Hazel was tied up and gagged and Jack, seriously injured, did not regain consciousness for a several days. In July, Valerie unexpectedly turned up, wanting a divorce. Jack suffered another heart attack and was confined to Grey Gables until he felt able to take his first walk in October. He was only 54 years old. Worried at the prospect of Valerie taking half of all he owned, Jack took a cruise in the Caribbean, needing time to think. Hazel went to stay with friends in London. 
1974 Valerie wrote to say she wanted the divorce proceedings speeded up and that she didn't intend to take half of everything. The divorce petition was heard in July. The next day Jack asked Peggy to marry him. She refused and resigned from her job at Grey Gables. When the divorce became absolute, Jack told Peggy that he had no intention of re-marrying but he hoped they could be friends. 
1975 Jack and Ralph Bellamy became joint owners of a racehorse called Grey Silk. 
1976 A garden centre opened at Grey Gables, managed by Tom and Pru with Higgs as general handyman. Jack was elected to the parish council. Peggy agreed to work two half days at Grey Gables, but warned Jack off when he interfered in her private life. 
1977 Jack took a fancy to Jane Dexter, a PA from London who organised a sales conference at Grey Gables, but Jane made it clear they were just good friends. 
1978 Jack bought a plot of land in the village from Ralph Bellamy. Despite local opposition, he gained planning permission and built an executive estate, Glebelands. Jack bought Captain, a three month old Staffordshire bull terrier. 
1979 Caroline Bone (now Sterling) came to work for Jack as a hostess/organiser. 
1980s - The warning signs
1983 Jack was elected vice-chair of the parish council. Valerie died and after the funeral Hazel came to stay for several weeks. Jack thought that she was a wonderful daughter but he was in a minority of one. 1984 Trying to rescue Captain from a roof, Jack fell and suffered a hairline fracture of the skull. Hazel didn't even phone. 
1986 When an otter was discovered in the Am, Jack had a hide built and sold copies of Ring of Bright Water and Tarka the Otter in the hotel foyer. Grey Gables was closed over Christmas following three cases of food poisoning caused by rodent infestation. Jack spent Christmas day with Peggy and they reopened for New Year's Eve. 
1987 Jack went into partnership with Brian Aldridge, running shooting weekends. 
1988 Jack collapsed and Lynda gave him the kiss of life. Jack had a pacemaker fitted because of an irregular heart rhythm. While Jack recovered, George looked after Captain. On his return Jack was upset when Captain seemed to prefer George. Feeling his age, Jack decided to take a back seat and appointed Caroline as manager of Grey Gables. 
1989 Jack stood for chairmanship of the parish council. Terry Wogan visited Grey Gables for a celebrity golf tournament. With less to do at Grey Gables, Jack became more hands-on at the shop. His modernisation plans led to Martha Woodford reducing her hours and Betty Tucker taking over as manager. 
1990s - Happy with Peggy
1990 Jack asked Peggy to go with him to the Grey Gables Valentine Ball. On 12 October, Peggy was in the kitchen at Grey Gables, helping out during lunch preparations. Jack very hesitantly asked Peggy to marry him. Later during a stroll in the Country Park, Jack thought Peggy was turning him down again, but she accepted. 
1991 Jack and Peggy were married at St Stephen's church. They honeymooned in St. Lucia but sadly Captain died while they were away. In June they moved from Grey Gables into The Lodge. 
1992 Former GI Conn Kortchmar returned and tried to woo his wartime love Peggy. Jealous Jack eventually sent him on his way. 
1993 Jack was in the village shop collecting the takings when two thugs with a shotgun burst in. Jack passed out. Clive Horrobin and his accomplice Bruno prevented Betty from calling an ambulance. Once the thugs had left, Debbie called for the ambulance on Jack's mobile. Jack came out of hospital six days later. Both Jack and Debbie suffered panic attacks for some time after the raid. 
1997 Jack wrote to the probation service saying that Clive Horrobin should not be allowed to show his face in Ambridge. 
1999 Jack tried to force open a door at the disused Arkwright Hall. It gave way and he fell on to broken glass. Gamekeeper Greg Turner found him and got him to the doctor. The accident prompted Jack to lease the hall to The Landmark Trust. 
2000s - Decline
2001 Arkwright Hall was reopened as a holiday home Jack sold April Cottage to Kathy Perks. 
2003 Against Peggy's better judgement, Kenton Archer persuaded Jack to buy Daphne's Café in Borchester. Kenton became manager of the refurbished Jaxx Caff. Confusion over a party invitation was the first indication that Jack was having trouble with his memory. 
2004 After Grey Gables was refurbished, confused Jack was found wandering the corridors. Various incidents through the year highlighted his worsening memory. 
2005 Peggy finally accepted that Jack should see a doctor about his memory. He did poorly in the tests at the memory clinic in Felpersham and was prescribed medication. Peggy persuaded him it was time to reduce his business interests. Jack sold Jaxx Caff and his shares in The Borchester Echo. The family looked after Jack while Peggy was visiting a friend, and realised the extent of Jack's memory problems. They encouraged Peggy to take Enduring Power of Attorney over Jack's affairs. Jack was resistant but accepted the idea after an unhappy visit from gold-digging Hazel. 
2006 Fallon Rogers interviewed Jack for an oral history project. He remembered the old days clearly but continued to deteriorate, sometimes forgetting close family members. Jack sold Grey Gables to Caroline and Oliver Sterling. 
2007 When Jack's friend Sir Sidney Goodman died he planned to speak at the funeral, but in the end Peggy had to stand in for him. Jack became occasionally aggressive towards Peggy or to wander off. The family offered more practical help and Rev Alan Franks persuaded Peggy to enlist Jack in a day centre. The cricket pavilion was named in Jack's honour. Jack was scared by the bonfire night fireworks, thinking he was back in the war. 
2008 Despite the occasional good day, Jack became increasingly difficult. For the first time he didn't recognise Peggy, and refused to let her into the house. Nonetheless, her daughters practically had to force Peggy into accepting a professional carer for Jack. After a short trial period, Peggy dismissed Maria when she suggested Jack could be sedated at difficult times. When Peggy was hospitalised with a stroke, the family tried unsuccessfully to look after Jack. Peggy was furious when she discovered that they had put him temporarily into a care home, The Willows. On her return from hospital, Peggy unwisely insisted that Jack would come home immediately. She struggled along with secret help from the Grey Gables chef Ian Craig, but eventually had to accept that Jack needed a regular professional carer. Barney started work in December. 
2009 Despite Barney's help, Peggy - still affected by her stroke - found Jack increasingly demanding. Jack received a statue of a Staffordshire bull terrier for his 90th birthday, but didn't realise its significance. He had forgotten Captain. At last Peggy came to the reluctant and painful realisation that she could no longer care for Jack at home. It was time to let go, and Jack went to live at The Laurels.
2014 After continuing decline, but excellent care, Jack died on 1 January.

1939 - 1945: During the war Jack was a fire warden in Stirchley. He didn't fight because he had a bad chest which made him unfit for the army. At the time he was mortified but later realised he was one of the lucky ones.

1957: Jack's first wife died. They had no children. 


1960s - Unhappy match

1962: Having been successful in business, Jack Woolley bought Grey Gables Hotel and Country Club. He moved into Ambridge Hall.

1963: Jack gave a job to fellow Brummie and Ambridge newcomer Sid Perks. When Sid and his first wife Polly were married, Jack lent them a car for their honeymoon. 

1965: Jack married glamorous widow Valerie Trentham. Jack and Ralph Bellamy went into partnership, buying the Grenville Estate, which included Arkwright Hall. As a pushy incomer, he quickly upset the old establishment. Jack suffered his first heart attack. 

1966: John Higgs started work as Jack's chauffeur. Valerie started a series of affairs 

1967: In July, Jack legally adopted Hazel. In December Valerie left him, Hazel staying in Ambridge 

1970s - Riding high

1972: In a big expansion of the Woolley empire, Jack became owner of the shoot, opened the golf course in the Country Park and bought the village shop. 

1973: Jack's health was suffering and the doctors warned him he might suffer another coronary if he didn't ease up. So he decided to drop all interests outside of Ambridge and put his personal assistant - Peggy Archer - in charge of business connected with the Country Park. Persuaded by Hazel, Jack sold Ambridge Hall to Laura Archer and moved into Grey Gables. In May there was a robbery at the hotel. Hazel was tied up and gagged and Jack, seriously injured, did not regain consciousness for a several days. In July, Valerie unexpectedly turned up, wanting a divorce. Jack suffered another heart attack and was confined to Grey Gables until he felt able to take his first walk in October. He was only 54 years old. Worried at the prospect of Valerie taking half of all he owned, Jack took a cruise in the Caribbean, needing time to think. Hazel went to stay with friends in London. 

1974: Valerie wrote to say she wanted the divorce proceedings speeded up and that she didn't intend to take half of everything. The divorce petition was heard in July. The next day Jack asked Peggy to marry him. She refused and resigned from her job at Grey Gables. When the divorce became absolute, Jack told Peggy that he had no intention of re-marrying but he hoped they could be friends. 

1975: Jack and Ralph Bellamy became joint owners of a racehorse called Grey Silk. 

1976: A garden centre opened at Grey Gables, managed by Tom and Pru with Higgs as general handyman. Jack was elected to the parish council. Peggy agreed to work two half days at Grey Gables, but warned Jack off when he interfered in her private life. 

1977: Jack took a fancy to Jane Dexter, a PA from London who organised a sales conference at Grey Gables, but Jane made it clear they were just good friends. 

1978: Jack bought a plot of land in the village from Ralph Bellamy. Despite local opposition, he gained planning permission and built an executive estate, Glebelands. Jack bought Captain, a three month old Staffordshire bull terrier. 

1979: Caroline Bone (now Sterling) came to work for Jack as a hostess/organiser. 

1980s - The warning signs

1983: Jack was elected vice-chair of the parish council. Valerie died and after the funeral Hazel came to stay for several weeks. Jack thought that she was a wonderful daughter but he was in a minority of one. 1984 Trying to rescue Captain from a roof, Jack fell and suffered a hairline fracture of the skull. Hazel didn't even phone. 

1986: When an otter was discovered in the Am, Jack had a hide built and sold copies of Ring of Bright Water and Tarka the Otter in the hotel foyer. Grey Gables was closed over Christmas following three cases of food poisoning caused by rodent infestation. Jack spent Christmas day with Peggy and they reopened for New Year's Eve. 

1987: Jack went into partnership with Brian Aldridge, running shooting weekends. 

1988: Jack collapsed and Lynda gave him the kiss of life. Jack had a pacemaker fitted because of an irregular heart rhythm. While Jack recovered, George looked after Captain. On his return Jack was upset when Captain seemed to prefer George. Feeling his age, Jack decided to take a back seat and appointed Caroline as manager of Grey Gables. 

1989: Jack stood for chairmanship of the parish council. Terry Wogan visited Grey Gables for a celebrity golf tournament. With less to do at Grey Gables, Jack became more hands-on at the shop. His modernisation plans led to Martha Woodford reducing her hours and Betty Tucker taking over as manager. 

1990s - Happy with Peggy

1990: Jack asked Peggy to go with him to the Grey Gables Valentine Ball. On 12 October, Peggy was in the kitchen at Grey Gables, helping out during lunch preparations. Jack very hesitantly asked Peggy to marry him. Later during a stroll in the Country Park, Jack thought Peggy was turning him down again, but she accepted. 

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Peggy Woolley remembers her wedding day with Jack (Jan 2014)

1991: Jack and Peggy were married at St Stephen's church. They honeymooned in St. Lucia but sadly Captain died while they were away. In June they moved from Grey Gables into The Lodge.

1992: Former GI Conn Kortchmar returned and tried to woo his wartime love Peggy. Jealous Jack eventually sent him on his way. 

1993: Jack was in the village shop collecting the takings when two thugs with a shotgun burst in. Jack passed out. Clive Horrobin and his accomplice Bruno prevented Betty from calling an ambulance. Once the thugs had left, Debbie called for the ambulance on Jack's mobile. Jack came out of hospital six days later. Both Jack and Debbie suffered panic attacks for some time after the raid.

1997: Jack wrote to the probation service saying that Clive Horrobin should not be allowed to show his face in Ambridge. 

1999: Jack tried to force open a door at the disused Arkwright Hall. It gave way and he fell on to broken glass. Gamekeeper Greg Turner found him and got him to the doctor. The accident prompted Jack to lease the hall to The Landmark Trust. 

2000s - Decline

2001: Arkwright Hall was reopened as a holiday home Jack sold April Cottage to Kathy Perks. 

2003: Against Peggy's better judgement, Kenton Archer persuaded Jack to buy Daphne's Café in Borchester. Kenton became manager of the refurbished Jaxx Caff. Confusion over a party invitation was the first indication that Jack was having trouble with his memory. 

2004: After Grey Gables was refurbished, confused Jack was found wandering the corridors. Various incidents through the year highlighted his worsening memory. 

2005: Peggy finally accepted that Jack should see a doctor about his memory. He did poorly in the tests at the memory clinic in Felpersham and was prescribed medication. Peggy persuaded him it was time to reduce his business interests. Jack sold Jaxx Caff and his shares in The Borchester Echo. The family looked after Jack while Peggy was visiting a friend, and realised the extent of Jack's memory problems. They encouraged Peggy to take Enduring Power of Attorney over Jack's affairs. Jack was resistant but accepted the idea after an unhappy visit from gold-digging Hazel. 

2006: Fallon Rogers interviewed Jack for an oral history project. He remembered the old days clearly but continued to deteriorate, sometimes forgetting close family members. Jack sold Grey Gables to Caroline and Oliver Sterling. 

2007: When Jack's friend Sir Sidney Goodman died he planned to speak at the funeral, but in the end Peggy had to stand in for him. Jack became occasionally aggressive towards Peggy or to wander off. The family offered more practical help and Rev Alan Franks persuaded Peggy to enlist Jack in a day centre. The cricket pavilion was named in Jack's honour. Jack was scared by the bonfire night fireworks, thinking he was back in the war. 

2008: Despite the occasional good day, Jack became increasingly difficult. For the first time he didn't recognise Peggy, and refused to let her into the house. Nonetheless, her daughters practically had to force Peggy into accepting a professional carer for Jack. After a short trial period, Peggy dismissed Maria when she suggested Jack could be sedated at difficult times. When Peggy was hospitalised with a stroke, the family tried unsuccessfully to look after Jack. Peggy was furious when she discovered that they had put him temporarily into a care home, The Willows. On her return from hospital, Peggy unwisely insisted that Jack would come home immediately. She struggled along with secret help from the Grey Gables chef Ian Craig, but eventually had to accept that Jack needed a regular professional carer. Barney started work in December. 

2009: Despite Barney's help, Peggy - still affected by her stroke - found Jack increasingly demanding. Jack received a statue of a Staffordshire bull terrier for his 90th birthday, but didn't realise its significance. He had forgotten Captain. At last Peggy came to the reluctant and painful realisation that she could no longer care for Jack at home. It was time to let go, and Jack went to live at The Laurels.

2014: After continuing decline, but excellent care, Jack died on 2 January.

Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.

Read about Arnold Peters, who played Jack Woolley

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Comments

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    Just had to say how incredibly moved I was by the scene with Peggy talking to Jack. A beautiful piece of writing, very sensitive and a totally amazing performance by June Spencer that reduced me to tears. A fitting farewell to a much loved character, and of course to Arnold Peters.
    Heartfelt thanks to all involved.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    It could not be long before they had to recognise the death of Arnold Peters, and let Jack go.
    Peggy, June Spencer, has been amazing through all this plot line on dementia. Superb.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    I second the comment on June Spencer's performance. Very well done. Made me shed a tear and I'm normally more the dark humour type.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 4.

    Farewell Jack and well done scriptwriters the way his passing was marked. Full marks to June Sencer for her very moving performance in an excellent monologue. The Archers at its best.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    Thank you for your comments about June's performance. I agree entirely and will pass them on to June when I next see her.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    Thank you, Keri - that is appreciated. Like June, I've had personal experience of a loved one with dementia and this really affected me. The love that poured out of June's voice as she spoke to Jack was so beautiful. Also, credit to the whole team for dealing with the issue of dementia in this long-running SL and for showing that although the person may change, the love is still there.
    thank you to all involved once again for this wonderful tribute.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    June Spencer's performance in saying farewell to Jack was one of the best I've ever heard on radio. Beautifully written and sensitively acted. Bravo to writer and actor.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    I agree with the posts above, the last few epis have been very touching with Peggy as the old trouper facing reality without sentimentality, looking after everyone else, and finally having her own time this evening to mourn with the cats and the music, it was terrific. Well done everyone and a very fitting way to say goodbye to Jack's character. (Thank heavens Bartleby was all right.)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    Listening to to Peggy talking to Jack on what was to be her last visit, moved me to tears, a marvellous performance from June, it was so lovely to hear her say that Jack had smiled whilst she was talking about their wedding. thank you so much for covering this issue with such delicacy and honesty, farewell Jack.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 11.

    I like to listen to the omnibus edition to see how the week's episodes fit together. This morning's programme ended with a fitting tribute to Jack & slotted well into holding back the drama building around the Helen / Rob scenario. Little bits at a time.
    True I have only been listening to the programme since the early 60's, but can anyone help me with this question? Am I correct in thinking that this conclusion is only the second time that the Arches has finished without the well known theme tune?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    Before Clarrie and Eddie were married, the engagement was announced between Lady Diana and Prince Charles. Clarrie was wondering if she would ever get a proposal. The episode ended with "Someday my Prince will come". Other sad episodes have ended with no music eg John's death

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    John's death - no Barwick Green (We heard Tony's sobbing, twenty seconds of silence and then the continuity announcer introducing the next programme. )

    Phil's death - Dream of Gerontius

    Jack's death - Love is the sweetest thing)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    A sad and moving end which was acted out extremely well by Peggy. It mirrored the passing of my father in August, and I was particularly moved by the similarity when Peggy announced that she had 'lost him a long time ago'..........

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    I agree it was a lovely send-off.

    I should like to take the opportunity of commenting on an earlier item for which comments have been closed, namely the issuing of Honours to long-serving Archers/BBC staff.

    I am a great fan of The Archers but do not quite understand why such staff should be singled out for honours, however well they do their jobs. It is for what they are paid.

    People in other industries do not get honours for similar achievements.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 16.

    The writers wrote, and June Spencer delivered a very moving end to a long and slow moving story line. Experience of dealing with dementia was evident, Well done to all.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    hey, my sincere condolences to Arnold Peters' family. he played a blinder as Jack Woolley and had a lovely voice. i've seen him in his TV appearances and he was a very accomplished TV actor. many fantastic memories of him for his family and never-to-be-forgotten. be sure you wee ones eventually pass these on to their wee ones. his name and fame will live one.

    best wishes

    elsielou x

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    Loved the scene a few days ago with Peggy remembering and just wanting some time alone really moved me.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    Poor old Jack I just thin they took him out to soon. His voice was always a charm.

 

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