Hastings Old Town character John the Cobbler remembered with bench unveiling

Cobblers to the Old Town was the order of the day when a large crowd of local people paid their respects to popular High Street trader John the Cobbler who passed away last year.

Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 7:49 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 2:53 pm
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A special memorial bench was unveiled by Hastings Mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden, at Reeves Corner, at the top of Courthouse Street.

Jonathan Mendenhall gave a short speech which was followed by another from the Mayor who then cut the ribbon.

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Following the ribbon cutting John’s wife Sandra was invited to be the first person to sit on the bench whilst it was blessed by Bishop Peter.

Sandra was then presented with an orchid plant and was joined by her family to pose for photos for their family album to remember the day.

The bench was funded by collections from High Street Traders, the Carnival Association and other donations plus friends.

The idea of a tribute bench came from Dee-Day White and Keith Leech.

Scotsman John Napier, affectionately known as John the Cobbler, moved to Hastings more than 20 years ago to open up his cobbler’s shop in the Old Town.

Dick Edwards, chairman of Hastings Old Town Residents’ Association, said at the time: “The death of this wonderful character is widely mourned.

“John was an example to us all showing how to deal with ill health and adversity.”

Old Town stalwart Ian Porter said: “Nothing was ever too much trouble for John who would always take on too much work, from patching a fisherman’s wellies to repairs to high class shoes. We will all miss walking past his shop, yelling ‘Morning, John’ through his ever-open door.”

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