Once again, as so often in the recent past, the entire Choir was devastated to learn of the sudden death of another serving chorister, this time long standing Bass chorister, John Wyson on 10th January.
Only last November I posted on the News page how ‘Johnny’ shared his 85th birthday with fellow chorister and best friend, baritone Tommy Hole never thinking that I would be writing of this sad news today. Johnny had been suffering poor health for a few years but this did not stop him from coming to just about every practice and concert until his death. He was a regular and staunch supporter of the ’10 o’clock team’ that meets to set up or clear the hall before and after events. I was privileged to sit by him at practice for the past year and we would often joke that we shouldn’t try to copy each other, since I’m in the baritone section.
Johnny was born in Malta and survived the dreadful bombing of that heroic island before coming to this country as a youngster to eventually work as a fireman on the then Great Western Railway.and British Rail. He formed a close relationship with fellow ex railwaymen and bass choristers, the late Roy Jones and Wyn Goodwin when he joined the choir in the 1990’s. However his thoughts and longings always harped back to his beloved birthplace where so many of his family still live.
Although diminutive in size, hidden so often by choristers in front of him in photos, he had a huge heart and there is no doubt that he was a devoted member of the choir and it soon became a major part, like so many others, of his life in Caldicot; so much so that in 2014 he encouraged his new neighbour from Bristol, Chris Nolan to join us as yet another bass. Together with his wife Kirstie, they too have become stalwarts of the choir and firm friends of Johnny.
Not only had Johnny toured extensively with the choir, including the recent trip to Edinburgh and Stirling, he was a keen golfer and a strong supporter and active member of the ‘Birdie Boys’ and went on every trip arranged by them.
Johnny was also devoted to his family, especially his grandchildren of whom he was extremely proud and I’m sure that his death, following other recent tragedies in the family, came as a terrible shock to them all. As a tribute the choir sang ‘Gwahoddiad’ (Invitation) at practice on January 11th and our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all his friends and family. We have lost a true friend, a lovely man and great chorister and we will all miss him.