We were all so sorry to hear that John Herbert had sadly passed away at Ashgate Hospice on Sunday 9th December, following a courageous battle with cancer. This is a huge loss for our small, close-knit community, and we are all deeply saddened by the news. John was very much a leader within our village, and someone who brought people together. We will miss him greatly.
John, a retired Professor of Journalism who previously worked for the BBC, had served tirelessly as Chair of Sheldon Parish Meeting since 2002. In this role he undertook a great deal: chairing meetings, compiling the newsletter, checking minutes, dealing with village correspondence, consulting residents and serving as Chair of the Village Hall Trustees. As most of you will know, John compiled the wonderful Sheldon Jottings every month, which appeared not only in the Parish Magazine, but also on our village website and have been read by almost 18,000 people from all over the world during the last 18 months; a remarkable achievement!
But John was much more than simply Sheldon Parish Meeting Chair. He performed a vital role leading the community and binding us together through both troubled and happier times. He always made himself available for anybody to contact him, or ask for his help and advice. He was approachable, open and honest. Up until recently, John was also serving a third term as a Parish Member of the Peak District National Park Authority, having been elected by Parish Councils from across the National Park. As a Parish Member of the Authority, he had a particular interest in issues of importance to people and communities across the National Park, such as planning and enforcement, and the rural economy. Holding this position into a third term, illustrated the high regard in which John was held by Parish Councillors in the local area.
John gave up hundreds of hours of his precious time on an entirely voluntary basis, on behalf of our community, and 2012 marked his 10th year as Parish Chair. In January 2012, John received a Matlock Mercury New Year Honours award for his community work.
At the time of writing, John’s funeral is due to take place at St. Michael and All Angels Church, Sheldon, on Friday 21st December. Following the service, the whole community will come together for a celebration of John’s life in Sheldon Village Hall. Our thoughts are very much with Margaret and the rest of John’s family at this sad time.
Our next jottings will report on the Sheldon Traditional Light-Up, which we very much look forward to and also the carol service in our beautiful church. The next vicar’s coffee morning is on the first Tuesday in February in the Cock & Pullet.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.