Tributes to a loving caring family man

John Lyons
John Lyons

Tributes have been paid to a former Eastbourne greengrocer and hotelier who died last month.

John Lyons used to run the greengrocer’s shop in Cornfield Terrace and in recent years ran the Alfriston Hotel in Lushington Road.

He died on January 9 aged 71.

His family said this week John was a warm and caring big man with a big heart, wonderful sense of humour, was a chirpy chappy and the times he loved the most were when he had his family around him.

Born in North London, John completed his National Service in the REME before becoming a motor mechanic, taking up a position at Smithfields Meat Market, working as a window cleaner and finally taking a fruit and veg lorry calling at homes to sell his produce.

He met his wife Terry on New Year’s Eve 1954 and they married in Lewisham eight months after first meeting and spent almost 58 happy years together.

They had five daughters, Lorraine, Sheridan, Donna, Tracey and Gaynor and the family moved to Eastbourne in 1970 after visiting the town and falling in love with it.

Gaynor said, “John’s produce was always the best and he took pride in this, serving some of the best hotels in Eastbourne at the time.

In 1995, he decided he was getting a bit too old to get up at 2am three days a week to make the trip to Spitalfields fruit and veg market in London to buy the fresh produce for the shop, so he and my mother decided to become hoteliers, which they ran from 1986-1999.”

The couple moved to Stone Cross when they retired and John enjoyed hobbies included golf at Willingdon Golf Club, pottering in the garden, DIY and cruises.

Gaynor said, “ He was at his happiest with his family all around him. He was thoughtful, loving and kind, the kind of husband, Dad, Granddad, Great Granddad and friend everyone should have.”