Joe’s funeral was delayed to allow his son Martin to travel from Australia where he lives with his children. For years Joe was often seen at daily Mass and undertook a variety of roles in the church including as Altar Server, gardener and particularly a general handyman able to mend or fix whatever needed attention. As an indication of the high esteem he was held, the Mass was attended by four priests and two deacons.
Joe (aged 85) was born outside Wisbech in 1937 to an English father and Irish mother and was part of a large family. Life was tough as they worked on a farm out in all weathers. He attended school and the Catholic church in Wisbech. For a period he served in the RAF.
At some point after marrying Swiss wife Margrith, the couple moved to Peterborough and for 30 years Joe worked at Freemans’ mail order warehouse cycling to and from work each day. As a practical man he spent much time in his garden shed and made toys including a sledge for his children. He was sociable, caring, loving, considerate and helpful.
On June 18, 2016, Joe and 11 other parishioners’ contribution were recognised by the award by the Bishop at the biannual One Mass at Peterborough Cathedral of a Diocesan Medal for long service to the parish and diocese. Joe’s last gift to the church before his final illness were two benches which are located outside of the porch. Joe died on July 18.
Pictured is Joe Harrington and one of his memorial benches.