John Etheridge

JOHN Etheridge died aged 61 surrounded by family at his home in Marlborough on May 29.

Due to his long-term illness, he spent a lot of time in hospital over the last year, but still enjoyed being with friends and family, who have paid tribute to his kindness, compassion and empathy.

John was born on June 4, 1956 in Dulwich, London and went to school at Kingsdale Comprehensive School, now Kingsdale Foundation School.

He left school and, aged just 17, became landlord of the Green Man pub on Old Kent Road. There he met Christine and the pair married shortly after. At the age of 22 he moved to Swindon with Mrs Etheridge where he worked as a labourer and a post office manager.

They moved to Marlborough 35 years ago where he launched three successful businesses, including café Bites and a DIY service called ASAP.

He then returned to heavy goods vehicle driving with UK Mail. Together they had three sons, Tom, Harry and Max, and the family will soon welcome a grandchild who John was excited to meet.

He enjoyed betting on horses, loved football and was also interested in history and had recently visited battlefields abroad. When he was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of blood cancer, he and his wife travelled to Australia, Morocco and India, as well as throwing a 60th birthday party. He was determined to make the most of what life had to offer.

He was a scout for Bristol Rovers club and at one point all three sons were played matches in the first round of the FA cup.

Mrs Etheridge said: “He had a vibrant personality and was a massive communicator with people. He was always really helpful and empathetic to people.”

The family have asked for donations to be made to the Great Western Hospital Brighter Futures fund and for no flowers at the funeral, which will take place on June 14, 12pm in St Marys Church. A private cremation will follow. Everybody is then welcome to the Rugby Club.