A much-loved and respected Pendle businessman whose love for music as well as the odd joke brought a smile to many has died at the age of 81.
John Stinchon, of Linkside Avenue, Nelson, and later Gawthorpe Lodge, Padiham, was a devout Catholic; an immensely talented man who outside of working to provide for his family loved to entertain.
Born in Barrowford, John attended St Peter and Paul’s Primary School before moving at the age of 11 to De Montfort College, near Southampton, to train as a priest.
John decided at the age of 16 not to return after it became apparent the college wanted him to become a missionary.
Determined still to become a secular priest he visited the Bishop of Salford and continued his religious education through private tuition. Bureaucratic red tape brought his dream to an end and he returned home to work as an apprentice joiner for his dad’s firm.
A highly-skilled craftsman, he went on to study joinery at Burnley College achieving his city and guilds certificate.
It was while he was with his brother tracing their family tree in Ireland, in 1969, he met a young Irish girl named Betty. One year later the couple married and three children soon followed – Nicola, Anna and Mark.
When John’s dad died in 1973, the family business did too. Raising a young family, he worked numerous jobs before taking the brave step of setting up his own business in 1980.
“He was made redundant from his last job at Phoenix Scaffolding and so he started doing joinery work again from the garage at home,” said Betty. “He then started doing work at people’s houses. Wherever he could work really.”
Without a car, John would walk to his jobs each morning carrying the wood and tools he needed on his back.
Heritage Garden Sheds was born out of a first workshop in Leeds Road, Nelson. As the business grew, it moved; first to Southfield Street and then Brunswick Street.
“He was very proud of the business,” said Anna. “He would always have his smok on. I always remember him coming home smelling of sawdust.”
“With a pencil behind his ear,” added Nicola.
That Christian faith remained strong throughout his life. He was a regular at Holy Saviour Church in Nelson and was the choirmaster there for more than two decades.
One of his proudest moments came when he was presented with the Benemerenti medal - an honour awarded by the Pope to members of the clergy service to the Catholic church.
“Fr Haworth got him the medal for his contribution to the church,” said Betty. “It came with a little pin and on special occasions he would wear it. He was so proud of it.”
His family described him as a “showman”, an avid performer who appeared in numerous productions throughout the years. He was also a prominant member of Nelson Arion Choir as well as the Snowball Pub darts team.
Despite a life filled with work and hobbies, John always found time for his family.
“He loved to have a laugh. He was always joking. Even though they were repetitive jokes or stupid stuff like if we were out for a meal he would say, Come on let’s leave before the bill comes. Every time.”
In a book written some years ago about prominent people in East Lancashire, the author, former journalist Tony Bell, said this about him: “In may ways he is ordinary. However, if you got to know him, really know him that is, you’ll soon discover he is in many ways quite extraordinary.”
John’s funeral takes place at Holy Saviour Church, Nelson, on Friday, November 9th, at 10am. The burial will be held at All Souls Cemetery, Wheatley Lane Road, followed by a wake at the Fence Gate.
He leaves behind is wife Betty, children Nicola, Anna and Mark, their partners, Richard, Martin and Liza, and grandchildren William and Jamie.