Tributes have been paid after a life-long Morecambe fan and Lancaster’s longest serving taxi driver passed away suddenly on Saturday.
John Traynor, 73, had been clocking up thousands of miles behind the wheel of his taxi for more than 50 years, and proudly claimed to be the longest serving cabbie in Lancaster.
John also had another impressive longevity record, involving his beloved Morecambe Football Club – from the day he was ushered on to the field as a mascot at the age of 12 months, he followed the Shrimps with undying enthusiasm, and in 47 years he has missed only one home match.
Born in Morecambe, John worked at Lansil for 10 years and drove taxis part-time for 10 years for the late Tommy Shingler, before going it alone 38 years ago.
His first taxi was a Vauxhall Victor but he then caused a stir by having 15 Russian-built Ladas in just five years, albeit that at this stage he was operating two vehicles in the business.
John also ran a London-style cab for five years, devouring 550,000 miles in the process.
He carried thousands of passengers, and on occasions famous celebrities, including Country and Western star Slim Whitman and Bob Geldof.
John’s father, Jim, was a highly regarded footballer, gracing the left wing for Morecambe from 1947 to 1952.
John followed the club for 60 years, and at one stage never missed home or away.
Highlights for him were the 1974 FA Trophy win against Dartford at the old Wembley, and the promotion to the Football League victory at the new Wembley in 2007.
With his brother, Jim, he started the Morecambe FC Supporters’ Club, raising a lot of money to help fund away trips for fans and the purchase of club strips.
John was also a talented player, earning a strong reputation as a goalkeeper for a number of teams, including Morecambe A.
John was also an accomplished pop ballad singer in his younger days, appearing at clubs and on stage throughout the north west.
John was a Freeman of the City of Lancaster, and lived with his wife of more than 50 years, Eleanor, in Lancaster.
Morecambe Ladies Football Club posted a tribute on Facebook, saying: “It is with great sadness that we have lost one of our supporters and friends of our club and life long supporter of Morecambe FC.
“John started out as a fan of the ladies many years ago due to one of his loyal customers and friend of ours, Tracy Lamb.
“She used to tell him all the stories about us whilst she was sat in his taxi every day.
“A lot of you will remember him best for driving his Morecambe FC taxi around town. Rest in peace John, we will miss you lots xx”
Lancaster businessman and Morecambe FC fan Michael Gibson also paid tribute on social media.
“John was a diehard Morecambe fan with the Shrimps emblazoned on his car,” he wrote.
“He was a lovely bloke who especially catered for the elderly and disabled, and always with a smile and a story.
“I’ve had the pleasure of a honk of the horn, huge smile and my nickname shouted across the streets many dozens of times.
“I and many others across Lancaster and at Morecambe FC will miss him greatly.”