John Church

John William Edmund Church, 81, of Royal Wootton Bassett, whose funeral on Wednesday at St Bartholomew's Church was conducted by the Rev Canon Jane Curtis, is remembered by all who knew him as a kind man with many accomplishments. He cheerfully endured a lengthy period of poor health prior to his death at home with his wife and youngest daughter.

John, who was born at Stratton St Margaret, Swindon, was apprenticed at Swindon railway works and qualified as a fitter and turner. In his boyhood he was a member of the choir at his parish church, where he and Josie (nee Reeves) were married on March 22, 1958, after a four-year courtship. They had met first at the Majestic Ballroom in Swindon's Milton Road Baths.

Sadly, John's final illness did not enable them to celebrate their recent diamond wedding, but mourners gave thanks for his good life and his many interests.

John's many interests included stamp collecting and he was a former president of Swindon Philatelic Society. For some years he had an aviary, bred budgerigars and took part in local shows. He enjoyed gardening and used to cultivate an allotment in Church Street. Watercolour painting was another favourite pastime. He played darts for the Curriers Arms, and was an early member of Wootton Bassett Carnival committee. He had a public role as the carnival town crier for a year when competitions were held prior to the town council's appointment of an official town crier.

The family settled in Wootton Bassett more than 50 years ago, after living in Plymouth, where their first daughter was born in 1961. They moved to Brent Knoll, Somerset, birthhplace of their second daughter (who sadly died 21 years ago). At Wootton Bassett, John helped to deliver their third daughter at home. There are now five grandchildren and one great-grandson.

After a long career in the railway works, redundancy led to employment at Linolite and at the dairy in Wootton Bassett, which was then the town's major employer. Latterly Mr Church was assistant caretaker at Wootton Bassett School (now the Academy), where his wife was a cook. Holidays included visits to Spain and Morocco.

In more recent times, John was a regular volunteer behind the scenes in the town Oxfam shop, where he helped to sort and prepare items for sale.

The service in church was followed by burial at the town cemetery. Refreshments and reminiscences were shared afterwards at Marsh Farm Hotel.

Donations in his memory, to benefit Wiltshire Air Ambulance, may be sent c/o Maslin Funeral Service, 118 High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett SN4 7AU.