Tributes pour in for community stalwart

Tributes have poured in for John West
Tributes have poured in for John West

TRIBUTES have been paid to a community-minded man who died last Sunday.

John West, 89, of Elm Grove Lane, Steyning, lived his whole life in the town and was heavily involved with a number of community groups. He also served on the parish council back in the 1960s.

Brin Thomas, 82, of Portway, Steyning, was a friend of John’s for more than 30 years.

He said: “He was a friend of mine for a long time. He was friendly, he could talk to anybody and everybody. He liked other people’s company but he was a very private man.

“He was a very community-minded bloke. He was very proud of Steyning.”

Educated at Steyning Grammar School, John became a telecommunications engineer once he finished his studies.

He then joined the Home Guard, before moving on to the Royal Air Force in 1942 working as a radio mechanic. He served in India for several years before he was demobbed.

He went to work for his father, who owned Wests Printers, in Steyning. When the business was sold he went on to work for printers in Godalming and London, before finishing his career working for the Ministry of Defence.

Neighbour Trevor Jones, 56, of Church Street, Steyning, said: “He was a very supportive and likeable chap. He was a true gentleman. I would say he was Mr Steyning.”

Hazel Roxby, Steyning Parish Council deputy clerk, said: “He was a wonderful help to the clerks and myself. Whenever we wanted any history we would go to John.”

John was a founding member of the Steyning and District Community Association, which he remained involved with up until his death. He was also heavily involved with the Royal Air Force Association, Royal British Legion and the Steyning Air Cadets.

John Darwood, chairman of the Steyning RAFA, said: “We will certainly miss John. He’s made a real significant contribution to the life of the branch.”

A memorial service will be arranged to take place at the Church of St Andrew and St Cuthman.

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