Eastbourne war veteran gets garden makeover by ITV team

Former POW Jack King in his painting studio at home in Eastbourne.
Former POW Jack King in his painting studio at home in Eastbourne.

An Eastbourne man who fought in World War Two has been treated to a brand new garden courtesy of ITV’s Love Your Garden team and will feature on the show this week.

Ninety-five-year-old Jack King, who left his home in Eastbourne at 15 to join the Royal Artillery, will appear on the ITV makeover show hosted by Alan Titchmarsh on Wednesday July 26 at 8pm.

Jack is now community champion for The Silver Line, a phoneline for older people.

Jack is now community champion for The Silver Line, a phoneline for older people.

Jack has an art studio at the bottom of his garden which he built himself, though said he was finding it hard to access and having difficulty maintaining the garden.

Alan Titchmarsh and his team incorporated Jack’s artwork into the garden fence, added a breakfast table with a quote from his late wife and built a fish pond.

On the day of the TV show’s big reveal, Jack was taken to Eastbourne seafront to celebrate a new memorial plaque in honour of fallen WW2 soldiers.

Passers-by gathered to cheer for Jack, a former prisoner of war involved in the construction of the ‘Death Railway’ between Bangkok and Myanmar (formerly Burma), and thank him for his service to the country.

Jack once shared the garden ITV made over with his wife Audrey, who he lost to a stroke after 64 years of happy marriage.

He said, “I miss Audrey every time I see her picture. She’s not the sort of person you ever get over really. She was an anchor.”

Jack called The Silver Line, a helpline for older people, and was matched with volunteer Hannah who he now chats with on a weekly basis.

Jack said, “She’s a barrel of fun. Just to have a chat with someone, to hear a voice other than one’s own voice does mean a lot. She has become a friend.

What a wonderful difference The Silver Line’s good work makes in the lives of the lonely. Knowing someone is there for you at any time of day or night is a great comfort.”

Jack is now one of The Silver Line’s community champions - and advocate of the charity founded by Dame Esther Rantzen in November 2013.

“The Silver Line opened the world for me again,” he said.

“I’m very grateful to them. They are doing fine work.”

Jack and his garden will feature in ITV’S Love Your Garden on Wednesday July 26 at 8pm.