Tribute paid to avid letter writer John

John Wilkinson died on February 9, 2014.
John Wilkinson died on February 9, 2014.

Tribute has been paid to a former columnist and avid Herald letter writer who died earlier this month.

John Wilkinson, of Foxglove Road, was born in Peterborough but moved to Eastbourne when he was three-years-old and he remained in the town ever since.

As a child he attended St Joseph’s Catholic School in Eastbourne and went on to study at Eastbourne Grammar School.

His first ever job was as a bank clerk.

John, who was one of six siblings – with two brothers and three sisters, worked in many jobs over the years including as a leisure services manager.

Later on in life he became more well known in the town when he began to write a tongue-in-cheek column in the Gazette and Herald on different issues that often saw residents write in response.

The column, called ‘The Right Sort – John Wilkinson Speaks Out’, included a jokey piece on nude bathing which led to a number of riled readers writing in to vent their views. The column was featured between 1991 and 1992 but John’s connection with the paper did not end there as he then continued to be known by many as a regular letter writer. He wrote under various pseudonyms including Colonel Jervais D’Arcy Wilkes until his true identity was revealed.

His brother James Wilkinson said he was passionate about fishing and particularly enjoyed going trout fishing in Hellingly. Mr Wilkinson, from Grimsby, adding, “He was caring, thoughtful and found it easy to make friends.

“The phone has been red hot since he died, he was very well known in the local area.”

John’s best friend Jean Mildon added, “He would always help out. He was always happy around people and never showed he was ill.”

Mr Wilkinson died aged 71 on February 9 from ill health. His funeral will take place on Wednesday February 19 at Eastbourne Crematorium at 11.30am.