Obituary: John Lyth (Jack Paperman)
Further to Peter Monaghan’s short article in Issue 86 I am sure that readers may wish to know a little more of the local ‘celebrity’ that Jack became in Amble and district. I had known Jack for two and a half years as he came to the Gospel Hall known as Hebron Hall Red Row regularly.
He was born near Huddersfield in June 1932. He had an older sister, who lived in New Zealand with her husband.
Jack’s father had to move from Yorkshire as the firm he worked for went into liquidation. He obtained employment at the then new BBC transmitter at Stagshaw near Corbridge in 1938. Both John and his sister went to Hexham Grammar school. He played rugby and enjoyed running. His parents were very active in the Methodist church. Both he and his father had good singing voices.
He joined the Navy after accountancy training in Hexham. He was in the Navy for 17 years and it was while he was on HMS Albion, an aircraft carrier built on the Tyne, that he was ‘ordered’ to join the Magazine committee. It was 36 years later he got his ‘Creative writing’ certificate at Newcastle College. However, he had a problem in that another John Lyth, a distant relative, had published poems several years earlier. His solution to this was a pseudonym, hence, Jack Paperman.
After the death of his parents he finally moved to Amble and was often seen around the town with his dog until it passed away.
In retirement he enjoyed writing poetry and researching right up to his death. He was on his way, by bus, to Newcastle when the bus had an accident. Sadly he passed away a week later as a result of his injuries in Wansbeck Hospital.
He was cremated at Cowpen Crematorium on the 9th April and a Memorial service was held at Hebron Hall on the 30th April.
Many friends, representing the poetry groups he attended, together with friends and members of Hebron Hall gathered as we recounted his life and the contribution he gave to the various groups. He had a faith in God. He was often known to break out into song, poems or quotes from antiquity or the Bible even on the telephone!
His only niece, from Australia, was able to visit him the day before he passed away and sent a message about her late Uncle John, for the Memorial service, stating, ‘he was a true English eccentric’. Surely that sums him up beautifully. He will be missed.
John Tinkler, Hebron Hall Red Row