An Ilkeston businessman who helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity was awarded the Rotary movement’s highest honour days before his death.
Freemason John Richardson, who ran Avenger Taxis, had been a member of the town’s Rotary Club for 13 years and was president in 2006.
Club president Mike Perry visited Mr Richardson at his Derby Road home Ilkeston, to present the Paul Harris Fellowship award for his contribution to the club’s community work.
For more than ten years John was the most important member of Rotary Christmas festivities, when Santa and his helpers visited schools and community centres.
He visited patients at Ilkeston Community Hospital every Christmas morning, when his jollity, humour and great sense of occasion brought many a laugh and a few tears to the eyes of patients, staff and visitors alike, said Mike.
“I have personally witnessed him handing presents to children there who were receiving treatment in the Minor Injuries Unit, causing the children to return his ‘ho ho ho’ with broad, beaming smiles.”
Mr Richardson, 65, died at home after an 11-month battle against cancer.
Among messages of condolence received by wife Dolores was one from Erewash Borough Council, on behalf of past mayors: “He always had a smile on his face and would go out of his way to help anyone –– a typical Ilkestonian.”
He leaves children Samantha and Scott and their children and grandchildren, Jodie, Leah, Zane, Phoebe, Mia, Maisy and Braelyn, John’s son Andrew, daughter Jane and brothers Fred and Ken.
His funeral is at 10.15pm at St Mary’s Church on Thursday, January 31.