OBITUARY: Tributes paid to ‘devoted’ ex-mayor

The late John Stockdale, who has died aged 74.
The late John Stockdale, who has died aged 74.

John Stockdale, the former county councillor, district councillor and Mayor of Ripon, has died aged 74 after a long illness.

Mr Stockdale’s only child, Richard, described the former mayor as a “kind hearted, modest, religious man” and a ‘“loving father, grandfather and friend”.

He added: “When he did something for someone he would never want recognition. He was very religious, he had a lot of respect for Christians and for other religions as well.”

Mr Stockdale’s election to the role of mayor came in May 2006, one year after losing both his wife Janet to cancer, and his mother.

Born in Middlesbrough to a mining community, Mr Stockdale grew up and studied in County Durham before working down the pits.

From 1957 to 1964 he served in the Army and travelled to countries across the world including Bahrain, Kenya and Germany before working as an engineer and a lecturer at Harrogate College.

Coun Bernard Bateman, who supported Mr Stockdale’s nomination as mayor in 2006, will read a eulogy at his funeral next week and described the former mayor as his “greatest friend”.

He said: “It’s a great loss to the community because he had given so much without any want of reward. His hand was always to help others.

“When he was in Bahrain he organised a boy scout movement for Arab children. He was very appreciated by them but that was just Jim. He always got involved in the community and gave so much.

“I never heard a bad word said against him. He was such a Christian and always said that he was looking forward to being reunited with his wife.”

Coun Alan Skidmore also paid tribute to Mr Stockdale, whom he described as a “personal friend” and “one of the most gentle men I have ever met”.

He said: “He was devoted to his family and he would do anything for any of them. He was generous in spirit and in his time and was always 
willing to put his hand in his pocket.

“I knew him for 23 years, from both Harrogate and Ripon council, and he will be genuinely missed. Anybody that knows John will find a gap in their lives.”

Mr Stockdale died peacefully at Saint Michael’s Hospice in Harrogate on Tuesday, November 4.

He will be given a civic funeral at Holy Trinity Church in Ripon on Thursday, November 20, at 1.30pm, and any donations can be made to the hospice.