Diver’s deep love for seaside town

John Parker
John Parker

A MAN with a deep love for Whitby has died at the age of 84 after a long illness.

John Parker will be remembered by many people for his accounts and photographs of diving expeditions published in the Whitby Gazette and for his regular reviews of Whitby Music Club concerts.

He was, for a time, treasurer of Whitby Sub-Aqua Club and also an enthusiastic supporter of the music club.

He may also be remembered for organising a pressure group to protest against a steep rise in car parking charges for residents.

After a packed public meeting and a letter to Mrs Thatcher, it was successful in securing a reasonable reduction.

In 1984 John retired early from his work at the Patent Office in London.

He had loved Whitby from early childhood holidays and was able to fulfil his dream of settling in the town permanently with his wife Barbara.

They owned the house in Blackburn’s Yard where Mary Linskill, the popular Victorian author grew up and wrote her early novels.

Together with local craftsmen they worked on its meticulous restoration.

In July 1991 John organised a week of events and an exhibition for Whitby Museum of Mary Linskill’s life and work, which brought admirers and her distant relatives together to commemorate the centenary of her death.

In addition to being a frequent visitor to the Whitby Gazette office, John was a familiar figure in Church Street particularly in Cook’s Galley cafe.

Sadly, John was diagnosed with a cerebro-vascular disease which made walking difficult, particularly the 50 steps up to his front door in Blackburn’s Yard and he moved back to Kent to be near his family in 2003.

John passed away on 14 December.

His funeral will take place at Aylesford Church in Kent on Tuesday at 2pm.