Our Peg dies at 90

COMMUNITY campaigner, champion for the blind and former Journal reporter Peg Jago has died at the age of 90.

Friends and family paid their last respects to Peg at a Roman Catholic service at the Holy Trinity Church on Friday.

Born Margaret Jago in Launceston in 1920 she moved, aged seven, to Exmouth with her parents, attending a convent.

She trained as a nurse and worked at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, the Whipton Isolation Hospital and eventually Stoke Lynne, an Exmouth institution for young men with learning difficulties.

After the war, Peg joined the Exmouth Journal under the stewardship of Bill Gorfin where she was popular columnist in the children’s section writing under the moniker ‘Auntie Margaret.’

Although her ‘patch’ was ostensibly Woodbury, Exton and Lympstone, she had particular interest in the lifeboats and on hearing the ‘maroons’ sound would rush to the lifeboat house to hear the latest news.

Her coverage culminated on Christmas Day, 1956, when crew members Will Carder and Jack Phillips were washed overboard, following a rescue bid – Will died, though efforts were made to resuscitate him.

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Years later, Peg led the campaign for a memorial plaque, paying tribute to Will, to take pride of place on the new boat house in Queens Drive.

Her interests were wide and varied; she enjoyed cooking, listening to cricket on the radio, was vice-president of the Exmouth Amateur Operatic Society, a keen gardener, wrote poems and stories about Exmouth and even when she was almost completely blind enjoyed entertaining.

As her eyesight worsened she championed the Exmouth Blind Club, eventually becoming chairwoman, and in 1982 got the first of her two beloved guide dogs, Opal.

Second cousin Wendy Wills said: “One day, when Peggy was going to her pottery class, they attempted to cross The Strand…

“This wasn’t possible due to all the traffic, so Opal decided to take her straight to the taxi rank!”

For 25 years she lived in Kay Close in Withycombe and, in 2006, was a vociferous campaigner in her bid to stop the closure of the Roman Catholic Church of St Anne in Brixington.

In March last year, she moved to the Amberwood Nursing Home, and Wendy said: “She did not complain about her misfortune and remained cheerful and always thought about other people.”

Margaret ‘Peg’ Jago, who died on July 17, was born February 11 1920.