Hundreds expected to gather to pay their respects to Jarra Jim

Jim 'Jarra Jim' Purcell ahead of 2013 Great North Run at the age of 92 and his 27th run
Jim 'Jarra Jim' Purcell ahead of 2013 Great North Run at the age of 92 and his 27th run

Hundreds of people are expected to descend on a church in Jarrow on Monday as South Tyneside bids farewell to one of its best-loved sons.

Jim Purcell, best known as ‘Jarra Jim’ will be remembered in a service held at St Bede’s Church in Chapel Road, Jarrow, at 1pm.

It will be followed by his burial at Jarrow Cemetery,

Jarra Jim was best known for his running adventures - well into his 90s. However, it was his participation in the Great North Run, becoming the event’s first South Tyneside nonagenerian to complete the 13.1 mile route from Newcastle to South Shields, which most people will remember him for.

Over the years, the Dunkirk Veteran, raised thousands of pounds for children’s charities through his running - despite his age and in later years his ailing health - and picked up a number of awards on the way for his fundraising efforts.

His death, last month, at the aged of 96, after a short stay in hospital, left people throughout South Tyneside shocked and saddened.

His family, hope on Monday, people will gather to pay their own respects to one of South Tyneside’s most well-known characters, and help give him the send-off he deserves.

His daughter Betty Bainbridge said: “He was the kind of person you just couldn’t keep down no matter what life threw at him.

“We would love for him to have a good turnout at his funeral so he has the send off he deserves.”

Last year, his fundraising efforts were recognised with the Lifetime Contribution Award during the Gazette’s Best of South Tyneside Awards ceremony where he received a standing ovation.