Ill health forces charity stalwart to retire

John Lawrance.

John Lawrance. - Credit: Archant

John Lawrance dedicated 30 years of his life to fund-raising. The Mayor of Honiton and others pay tribute to his tireless efforts.

Those who know tireless charity worker John Lawrance will be saddened to learn that ill health has forced him to give up his last post with a local organisation.

Mr Lawrance, 75, who is suffering from cancer, has stood down as treasurer and a trustee of the Honiton Old People’s Welfare charity, which he faithfully served for 28 years.

Arthur Dimond, a trustee of the charity, paid tribute to his devotion.

“He was very, very thorough in what he did and we would like to thank him for all the work he has put in,” he said.

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With his devoted wife, Jean, at his side, Mr Lawrance, of Avenue Mezidon Canon, Honiton, has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The former assistant bank manager, who went on to serve the Royal British Legion in Honiton, acting as the branch’s treasurer for 22 years and also working for the former Legion club, threw himself into charity work as his children got older.

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“We have fund-raised all our married life, but started to do more when our children became more independent,” he told the Midweek Herald.

“We have really enjoyed it.”

For a quarter of a century, Mr Lawrance served the Sidmouth branch of the RNLI, acting as treasurer for 12 years, and went on to become a founder member of both the Sidmouth and Honiton branches of the British Heart Foundation.

He has lived in Honiton for 26 years and served on the Parochial Church Council for four years.

Reflecting on more than three decades of fund-raising, he said: “You don’t add up what you’ve raised over the years. You just get on with it.

“But no way could I have done it without Jean’s help.”

There have been many highlights over the years, not least the Devon Cycle Ride which supported the British Heart Foundation.

Mr and Mrs Lawrance provided refreshments for participants at Luppitt.

They have also enjoyed special fund-raising events in Honiton, which were supported by music duo The Amycrofters.

Mr Lawrance stood down from his last post to spend as much time as possible with his wife.

“Sadly, we are not going to have as long as I had hoped but we are going to make the most of it,” he said.

Eve Leaman, on behalf of the Honiton branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “I worked with John for 10 years and he couldn’t have been a more straightforward person.

“He was so dedicated to the Legion and still is.

“He helps financially and in any way he can. He is brilliant.”

The Mayor of Honiton, Councillor David Foster, said: “I’m always in admiration of anyone who is willing to give up their own time for the benefit of others. It shows real strength of character and a caring heart to commit yourself and to dedicate your life to works of charity.

“John Lawrance is such a person and, for this, he has my utmost respect and always will do.”

One of Honiton’s true gentlemen, Mr Lawrance will be greatly missed by all the organisations he so loyally served over many, many years.

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