Hastings Old Town character John the Cobbler given a blue plaque salute

Cobbler John Blue Plaque SUS-190213-065000001
Cobbler John Blue Plaque SUS-190213-065000001

The people who are taking over John the Cobbler’s shop in Hastings Old Town have erected a temporary memorial on the shop door in the form of a blue plaque.

Blue plaques are traditionally attached to buildings to commemorate a link between the building and a famous person associated with it.

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The High Street shop has remained closed since last April following the death of popular local character John Napier - known as John the Cobbler.

John passed away aged 68, last year following a long battle with cancer.

The plaque reads ‘John Napier, much loved friend to the Old Town cobbled here 1996 - 2018.

John’s shop has now been taken over by a local family law firm who wanted to pay tribute to him.

Bianca Eichler said: “John’s shop has been empty since the community lost one of the kindest, funniest gents the world will ever know

“There will be a permanent memorial which we are discussing with the family.”

A special memorial bench was unveiled by Hastings Mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden, at Reeves Corner, at the top of Courthouse Street, earlier this year.

The bench was funded by collections from High Street Traders, the Carnival Association and other donations plus friends. The idea of a tribute bench came from Dee-Day White and Keith Leech.

Dick Edwards, chairman of Hastings Old Town Residents’ Association, said at the time: “The death of this wonderful character is widely mourned. “John was an example to us all showing how to deal with ill health and adversity.” Old Town stalwart Ian Porter said: “Nothing was ever too much trouble for John who would always take on too much work, from patching a fisherman’s wellies to repairs to high class shoes. We will all miss walking past his shop, yelling ‘Morning, John’ through his ever-open door.”

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