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Tributes to former printer Douglas John Friday of Sheerness

By Steve Waite

The Union Flag is at half mast at a house in High Street, Sheerness.

It is a silent tribute to Island printer Douglas John Friday who died at home on April 3 after a long illness. He was 86.

Fiercely patriotic, he always flew the flag and the family chose to honour him in this way.

Douglas John Friday, of High Street, Sheerness
Douglas John Friday, of High Street, Sheerness

Joan, his wife of 56 years, said: "We also feel it fitting the funeral takes place on April 23 – St George's Day. He was so proud of his country."

Mr Friday, who was known as John, was a Sheerness man, born in the long-gone Spring Garden Passage.

It was always his ambition to join the RAF but aged 16 he lost his eye in an air pistol accident.

John Friday, who was president of the Sheppey branch of the Royal British Legion, pictured in 2007 helping out Valerie Sands on a soft toy stall at a coffee morning
John Friday, who was president of the Sheppey branch of the Royal British Legion, pictured in 2007 helping out Valerie Sands on a soft toy stall at a coffee morning

Instead, he became a Flight Sergeant with the Air Training Corps and also served as an Army cadet, and with St John Ambulance. But he never lost his passion for planes and built up an extensive collection of model aircraft.

He had worked "in the print" for some years and an opportunity to be his own boss came with working for, and taking over, the tiny Hurkett printing business in a house in Acorn Street, Sheerness. With brother Derek, they set up as D&D Printers.

This gradually expanded to Turner's Yard in the same area. Later he established Island Printers in Granville Place, Sheerness, which is still run successfully by the family – Joan, son Chris, daughter Sara, and son-in-law, Steve Saunders and his son Josef.

John Friday, right, who was Royal British Legion Sheerness president, and then chairman, Tom Redman, plant their crosses in the Garden of Remembrance in 2011
John Friday, right, who was Royal British Legion Sheerness president, and then chairman, Tom Redman, plant their crosses in the Garden of Remembrance in 2011

He was a Freemason and a member of United Services Lodge and was also past president of the Sheerness branch of the Royal British Legion. He hosted many garden parties for the branch and a great friend was the late Ernie Hardcastle, who shared his views.

A fine example of patriotism was the organisation of a lamplight procession through the High Street and along the Canal Bank at the start of the Falklands War. Hundreds took part.

He and Joan also ran regular coach visits to war graves in France – his grandfather had served at the Somme.

A loving family man until his illness, a jack-of-all-trades he could put his hands to most things – as small as a watch or as big as a printing machine – and will be sadly missed.

He leaves a widow Joan, five children, Kathleen, Anne, Christopher, Andrew and Sara, 11 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

The funeral takes place at the Garden of England Crematorium, Bobbing at noon on April 23.

Flowers or donations to the Galton Unit, Medway Maritime Hospital. The wake is at The Masonic Club, Sheerness.

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