John Butcher is regarded as many things by many.  An eccentric. A loyal friend. A great speaker. A loose canon. A bizarre chef. A Pub lover. A limmeric author. An Encyclopedia. A loving husband.  A Mountain Walker. A Smoker. An Englishman. A chuckler. A Birmingham City Fan. A Rock Opera writer. A Businessman. A Polititian. A writer. A father. A Historian. A patriot.

It’s easy to wax lyrical about someone who’s no longer with us, but for his family the proof is in the friends we have now, how we see our world and what we do in it. This link  is perhaps more discerning than I’m capable of being.

We knew him as Butch. Butch, who called contemporary Pubs “Ikea with Beer”, who followed a flaming curry with Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut, even if the only place to get it was an hour down the Motorway.  Butch who lost his car keys twice a day, and saved Nina Simone “for Special Occasions”. Butch who took a blind man up a mountain and described the view. Butch who drove 2 hours at 2 am to pick up a sobbing daughter and race her back with the top down and the speakers screaming. Butch who befriended an entire pub full of Seasoned Lakeland locals, and who could discuss the geology of Northern England and Spike Milligan in the same breath, who was forbidden to have a pet owl. Butch who landed in a paraglider in the middle of a football match, and learned to ski at 60. Butch who made anything-goes Curries, and roasted horse chestnuts, and ate berries off the branch, and hated Magpies with a passion. Butch walked all of the highest mountains in England and could name everything he saw. Butch who met the queen a lot, and a few other heads of state, and Stevie Wonder, and had Maggie Thatcher round for tea, and wore the same hideous swimming trunks for twenty years, and who never wanted to have a ‘relaxing’ holiday. Butch who took his family up in an airship, and would drop everything to get to a gig. Butch who would say the entire “Feast of Crispen” speech from Henry V, just long enough to make everyone feel uncomfortable. butch who hated ‘pointless’ Yorkshire Terriers but loved a very noble mongrel called Jake. Butch who made his friends sing ‘Delilah’ in Pantomime outfits, who did a  convincing Michael Caine, who liked to dance with his children in the Conservatory, who plotted uncatchable ways of destroying speed cameras, who despaired at the Political media, but delighted at the Fast Show, who instilled Motown in his children but loved anything good. Butch who told us to make our minds up as we go along, according to what we learn, not just what we’re told.

Neon Butcher Sign photographed in a Beaufort Diner SC

John Butcher; like Buster Meeks, a loving and loveable bright light, stolen too soon and a tough one to outshine, but one that endures.

“Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”  Hugh Latimer  [attrib. to John Foxe]

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