John brought story of Morecambe to life
A man who introduced generations of schoolchildren and their parents to the story of the growth of Morecambe and Heysham, John Read, has died. He was 94.
He was 94. John and his wife, Doreen, who were married for 69 years, gave hugely popular illustrated talks, based on their remarkable collection of old postcards, to schools and organisations over a 30-year period.
With Doreen providing the commentary, and John operating the projector, they brought the story of Morecambe and Heysham to vivid life.
Many people in their audiences, inspired by the talk and revelations about the men and women who guided the community from humble beginnings into one of the top resorts in the country, became fascinated by the subject and launched their own research projects.
John, a proud Morecambrian, was born in Sun Street, the location of the present day Arndale Centre, and attended Euston Road School.
After National Service, which included duty in the Middle East, John worked for ICI at the Middleton plant, operating in both the medical centre and security. He retired when he was 60, which coincided with the closure of the plant. He was the last person to leave the site.
John was a member of the St John Ambulance Brigade, becoming Superintendent of the Heysham Corps.
One day, while on duty as a volunteer First Aider at the old Heysham Head go kart track, he was called on to treat a young competitor injured in a crash – Nigel Mansell, who went on to F1 racing glory.
John was a member of the Morecambe and Heysham branch of the Royal British Legion for more than 70 years.
His interest in old postcards was kindled as a young man in his 20s and he joined the Red Rose Postcard Club. His cards reflected life in Morecambe and Heysham, showing major buildings, developments and attractions and momentous newsworthy events, including destructive storms.
One regular at John and Doreen’s talks observed: “They achieved so much in demonstrating that both Morecambe and Heysham had histories of which to be proud. We owe them both so much.”
John leaves his wife, Doreen, daughter, Sue, son-in-law Steve,and two grandsons, Andrew and Robbie.
The funeral service was held at St Peter’s Church, Heysham.