THE father of a local GP , who was well known in the Prestatyn community, has died at the age of 94.

Victor Dennis John Jessup – known as Dennis to his family and Jim to his colleagues – died at Preswylfa Care Home, Rhyl, on February 23.

Mr Jessup, who use to man the landing craft for soldiers going into battle in France, was the husband of the late Peggy, father of Dr Eamonn Jessup and a grandfather and great grandfather.

He lived in the slums of Wandsworth for the first few years of his childhood. He lost three siblings to tuberculosis, or consumption as it was known. His own own father died in his 30s when Dennis was just six.

Dr Jessup, of Prestatyn, said: “My father recalls the stigma of poverty and being brought up without a father vividly. Whilst playing on Clapham Common, he asked to play cricket with some local boys in their club but when they heard of their story of having no father, they refused to let him use their facilities.”

In 1935, a few years before the war broke out, there was a rehousing development and an opportunity was created for the family to relocate to a suburb of London called Carshalton. The family was reunited and moved to a small house.

“My father refused to go into the Andersen shelters during the bombing raids and on one occasion, had he done so, he would have certainly died as the shelter took a direct hit, killing all those inside,” Dr Jessup explained.

“This chequered childhood experience meant my father was barely able to read or write and most of the writing in my childhood was done by either my mother or myself.”

As soon as he was able to, Mr Jessup signed up for the forces. His initial posting was in Canterbury. He moved around a lot in the war years but his main role was manning the landing craft for soldiers going into battle in France.

His son said: “His discharge papers showed he was an exemplary soldier. His illiteracy meant that his preferred option of joining the water-borne police force was not open to him after the war. He took up work in Pascall’s sweet factory as a sugar boiler.”

“My father did not earn enough even to be allowed to open a bank account. Wash day was a scrub-down in a tub in the middle of the kitchen. Eventually, my father managed to build a bathroom inside our house.”

Slowly but surely, motivated Dennis and his wife climbed their way out of poverty to buy a house in a better area of South London.

Dr Jessup added: “My father was the reason I became a doctor. He just said in passing one day, ‘good job that one son’.”

Mr Jessup continued to work in the food industry and a move to the Unilever factory on the Wirral, in 1987, meant he could live in Prestatyn when Eamonn had taken up work as a GP in 1984. He retired at the age of 65 and spent the last 19 years of his life in North Wales.

His son added: “He was very proud of living in Wales. He was special.

“He never missed a day’s work and often walked several miles to get to work each day. He recognised that the only way to get out of the poverty trap, in those days, was by hard work not by seeking fame and instant fortune.

“All who met him immediately saw a kindness in his eyes and nature that was ever apparent. He was passionate about politics and inequality in society and taught me that all, whether the king or the pawn, should be treated equally with kindness, love and understanding.”

“He had such love in his heart that he so hoped that I would never have to suffer an early life like his own.

“He would always see the good in everyone and he taught me that ‘love conquers all.

“That should be his legacy. That is what makes this ordinary bloke so very special.”

Mr Jessup’s funeral will take place at St Peter and St Frances RC Church, Prestatyn, on Monday, March 12 at 11am.

The service will be followed by an interment at Coed Bell Cemetery.