Tributes have been paid to a “generous” father and “gentle" man who died last month.

Born in Forest Gate on August 24, 1933, Donald Lardner grew up in a war-time Chadwell Heath watching Spitfires and Messerschmitts in dogfights in the sky above his home.

After the war, he took up a plate-making apprenticeship with his father. However, it was cut short when he was called up for national service aged 18.

He enlisted with the Royal Air Force in 1951, joining Squadron 118, where he was trained as an airframe fitter and sent to Germany to work on jet fighter planes.

In 1952 he had a front-row seat to King George VI’s funeral procession, as those trained in the necessary drills in his squadron lined Edgware Road in west London.

Don was demobilised in 1953, returning home to resume his apprenticeship.

The same year he met Beryl on a train at St Paul’s Station and in 1959 they married at All Saints Church in Chigwell Row before moving in together in Pettits Lane, Romford.

Three children followed: Rob in 1963, Jeff in 1967 and daughter Sharon in 1978.

Around 1960, Don took a job as a stereotyper in the Evening Standard’s foundry, where he remained for three decades before taking redundancy aged 57.

During his retirement, he enjoyed taking holidays with Beryl and making preserves – his plum jam was renowned within the family – and playing golf, which he did twice a week until his 80s.

His children remembered him as a generous and practical father, known for helping out family members with their plumbing, electrical and small building jobs.

Sharon said he was a “kind, gentle man” who would spoil her as a child and who gave her a love of old Laurel and Hardy films.

He also loved jazz, a passion he shared with musician son Jeff, who remembers him “ferrying me around to all my gigs” as a teenager.

Rob, his eldest, said he was “very kind” and a "good dad" who will be "sorely missed".

Donald Lardner died on December 27, 2021.

He is remembered Beryl, Rob, Jeff, Sharon and his six grandchildren.

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