As some of you will know, a very close friend of 25 years standing died last week, and obituary notices have appeared on-line.
In thinking of how I will remember my friend – who was a great example of a good Samaritan as well as infuriatingly obstinate at times – my thoughts have dwelled on how he came to be so well known to so many people within the UK exhibition “scene”, thoughts encouraged by kind words written and said about him.
John got involved in supporting Mike Cook at the York Easter Show simply by volunteering. He had already been exhibition manager for the (then) annual show in Leicester, and had supported one of the more interesting 0 gauge layouts then on the circuit (Ynysybwl Fach – I hope I have that right!) and his willingness to get stuck in with the heavy loading and shifting had been noticed, so he came with good references. This naturally led to him helping at Warley and various events put on by The Association of Larger Scale Railway Modellers, where he simply got on with the job. Not officiously, just effectively and helpfully. Pat Seymour, of Alan Gibson Wheels, told me how he made them feel welcome and looked after them at York when they had just taken over the range from its eponymous founder. The warmth of that welcome was demonstrated each time they met up, especially during John’s illness: he died of pancreatic cancer. He was an accomplished modeller, always prepared to try a new technique and who would not use a new tool for a model until he was familiar with it, and had won awards as well as produced models professionally, was well known as someone to share a drink (or several) with, and would go out of us way to help a stranger, but he never looked for recognition – his primary aim in entering competitions was to get more feedback so that he could improve his technique.
The thing is, it is only when they suddenly are no longer there, that we notice the people who grease the axles. Real heroes go unsung, but that does not mean we should forget them
R.I.P. John Coulter, 1962-2015.