Respected journalist’s life to be celebrated
PUBLISHED: 14:22 11 November 2013
Funeral of former Seaton reporter John Fletcher will take place on Wednesday
FRIENDS and former colleagues of respected East Devon journalist John Fletcher will join family members for his funeral on Wednesday (November 13).
John, a devoted father and grandfather, reported on East Devon for three decades before becoming a teaching assistant in Exmouth.
He died from a suspected heart attack, aged 65, during a teacher exchange visit to Hungary last month.
A funeral service will take place at the East Devon Crematorium, Whimple, near Exeter, at 1pm.
An informal gathering to celebrate John’s life will be held afterwards at the Imperial Hotel in Exmouth at 2.15pm.
John moved to Devon from the Midlands in the 1980s to work as the Seaton and Beer reporter for Pulman’s Weekly News, when it was part of the Yeovil-based Western Gazette group. He lived at Seaton and during that time he also worked freelance, reporting on East Devon for the Western Morning News and other titles.
John took a staff job as a reporter at the Exeter Express and Echo, a sister title of the Western Morning News, in the late 1990s, and later moved to Exmouth. He took great pleasure in covering the towns and villages of East Devon, and was a regular figure at council meetings and other events in the Axe Valley.
John worked for the Echo for more than a decade until he left two years ago. He was highly regarded and fondly remembered by all who knew and worked with him.
His family said he had received a “new lease of life” when he took a job as a teaching assistant at the Beacon School in Exmouth where he proudly passed on his literacy expertise to young children.
It was on a trip with the school to Budapest that John had a suspected heart attack and died on October 19.
John balanced his career with bringing up a family of children who each became successful in their chosen fields.
He leaves three children, sons Craig and Matthew, and daughter Justine. He had six grandchildren and adored his family.
Teacher Craig, who lives near Dorchester, said: “Our dad was a true gentlemen, he was a dedicated grandfather to his six grandchildren. He always had a smile on his face and was truly loved by his family.”
East Devon-based Midweek Herald reporter Chris Carson, who worked with John on the Pulman’s Weekly News in the 1980s, described him as a true professional with a keen eye for “a good story”.
“He really understood – and cared about – the community he covered and turned in some great tales over the years,” he said. “He was a kind man with a generous spirit, always ready to offer help and advice when it was asked for.”
Echo production editor Ed Oldfield said: “John was a journalist of the old school, charming, funny, down-to-earth, always cheerful and ready with a joke, even in the toughest circumstance.”
Chair of governors at the Beacon School, Vivien Duval-Steer, said: “John was a highly valued and popular member of staff who was truly inspirational with the children.”
John’s family has requested family flowers only at the funeral service. Donations can be made via funeral director Richard W Gegg of Exmouth to the charity Always Hope, established to support John’s granddaughter Hope, who lives in Essex and was born with kidney failure.
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