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Death of much-loved Spalding journalist and Deepings Rotary leading light




Tributes have been paid to a popular journalist and Rotarian who died suddenly at home. Former newspaper editor John Lavery (67) was a prominent and hard-working member of the Rotary Club of The Deepings. He was also a well-liked freelance journalist who worked for the Free Press, our sister paper the Spalding Guardian and other titles in our company Iliffe Publishing.

Along with wife Karen, he ran Misty Meadows Alpacas in Maxey, near Market Deeping, where the couple lived. President of the Rotary Club of the Deepings Amrit Mistry said: “John will be greatly missed by us all. He was a unique individual who cared for the community.In June this year he earned Rotarian of the Year for his commitment to the club and dedication to various charitable causes.His cool, calm and collected approach to any task made him an exemplary Rotarian and our club has lost a valuable member and friend.

“He was an outstanding vice president and I will miss his dedicated support and friendship.”

John Lavery (15746414)
John Lavery (15746414)

Free Press editor Jeremy Ransome said: “John was a lovely person and a great help to me. We would talk about football and music and I loved hearing about his busy, enjoyable life.

“He was always so full of life and nothing was too much trouble for him. He truly was a great man.”

John married former school head teacher Karen on April Fool’s Day in 1999 and the couple shared a love of travel and hill walking.

Amrit Mistry has paid tribute to John Lavery (15746468)
Amrit Mistry has paid tribute to John Lavery (15746468)

Although a good all-round sportsman, with over 100 trophies in the loft, he had a particular flair for badminton and tennis.

John was a keen photographer too but his greatest passion was writing and he was in the process of seeking publishers for a children’s book .

He started his working life at Kesteven County Council’s education office in Sleaford and had a brief sojourn in a friend’s record business before working in advertising and then journalism. He set up the Sleaford Advertiser and when that closed became the editor of Sleaford Standard before becoming a freelance journalist in 2013.

He instigated and organized the Sleaford Marathon in November 1980 to fund raise for toys for Christmas for children at St Peter’s Hospital, Bourne; Pilgrim Hospital, Boston; Kesteven Hospital, Grantham and Harmston Hall Hospital.

He also fund raised for a local girl suffering from a rare medical condition and later became her Godfather.

Free Press editor Jeremy Ransome said John was a great man (15746470)
Free Press editor Jeremy Ransome said John was a great man (15746470)

He also raised funds for other local causes by getting sponsored to take on such challenges as walking Hadrian’s Wall and the UK Three Peaks’ Challenge.

He was a governor at Linchfield Community Primary School for a number of years and had just become a governor at the Willoughby School in Bourne.

He became a member of the Rotary Club of the Deepings in 2015 and was vice president and very much looking forward to taking over the presidency next June.

Much loved: John Lavery (15746537)
Much loved: John Lavery (15746537)

He was chair of the Rotary’s youth and community committee and involved in many diverse projects including organizing the recent Deeping Schools’ Art Competition; helping to organize the Rotary’s fundraising quiz nights and, his favourite Rotary activity, helping to collect donations with the Santa Sleigh.

John had just started to organize the Rotary Young Musician of the Yeardue to take place in early 2020 at the Deeping School and was also planning to develop a sensory garden for a local family.



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