The great novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens compared social backgrounds and lifestyles.
In the case of Sir Jack Hayward, his death brings into focus, the strong connection to the city of his birth, Wolverhampton and Freeport, which has generally been his base since 1956.
Wolverhampton is a kind of upscale city in the West Midlands of England with a population of around 250,000. It is the home city of the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. Sir Jack maintained his link to Wolverhampton with many generous gestures, particularly when he bought and owned the Wanderers, better known as the Wolves, for 19 years and provided the stadium at Molineux.
On Wednesday, the Express and Star newspaper in Wolverhampton produced an eight-page tribute. The publication blasted headlines and sub-headlines that indicated clearly just how much Sir Jack was adored by the folks associated with the Wolves, and the community of Wolverhampton at large.
The headlines read” “Tears at Molineux,” “The Man who saved the Wolves,” “RIP Sir Jack,” “He was one of us,” “Eccentric who loved his city” “Man with the golden touch,” Sad Molineux in mourning,” and “Honored for saving pioneering Brunel ship.”
Multiple stories highlighted the life of Sir Jack.
A report by Simon Penfold read in part:
“The Wolverhampton-born former Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot followed his father into business and spearheaded the property investment and development of the port at Grand Bahama Island. His fortune mounted up over the years to a peak of 160 million pounds at one stage, making him one of the 200 richest people in the United Kingdom.
“But, despite his life in Grand Bahama, his heart remained in Wolverhampton; more specifically at the Molineux Stadium he had built after rescuing the Wolverhampton Wanderers from collapse. There were also homes in London and New York, as well as a 14,000-acre Scottish Highland estate. They were all part of the trappings of life for a man born in Wolverhampton in 1923, the only child of Sir Charles and Hilda Hayward.”
Then, there is Freeport in Grand Bahama one of the islands of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Grand Bahamians have come to know Sir Jack as being synonymous with the Port Authority. It would understandably be a surprise to many to know now, that there is that other city, Wolverhampton that holds him at least equally as dear.
For Sir Jack, his life to the greatest degree evolved around his activities in the cities of Wolverhampton in England and Freeport in The Bahamas. They shared him in life and no doubt there will be continuity going forward with him no longer an earthly presence.
Rest in peace Sir jack!
Published Thursday, January 15, 2015