Tribute to CAMRA stalwart - ”a man you could always rely on, a man you could trust, a man of honour and of his word”

FLASHBACK to charity day at Elgoods in 2011: (from left) Editor John Elworthy, Lindsey Atkin of Tapping House, Belinda Sutton, Elgoods managing director, and John Rice of CAMRA. FLASHBACK to charity day at Elgoods in 2011: (from left) Editor John Elworthy, Lindsey Atkin of Tapping House, Belinda Sutton, Elgoods managing director, and John Rice of CAMRA.

Tribute by: KARL SIMPSON, On behalf of Peterborough and District CAMRA
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
1:27 PM

It is with great sadness that the Peterborough Branch of CAMRA reports the death of their good friend and loyal supporter John Rice. He had been battling against cancer for some time and passed away peacefully on June 28.

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John was a man whose friendly and warm personality had a profound effect on all of those who met him. He was instinctively a people person and was always the first to introduce himself to newcomers. His huge smile welcomed strangers and automatically put them at ease. You could always rely on John as a man you could trust; a man of honour and of his word.

John’s service to the branch was legendary. A member of Peterborough CAMRA for over 20 years, he held many positions including that of Brewery Liaison Officer for Elgoods.

However it was his role as LocAle Officer that cemented his reputation as one of the hardest working branch members. It was John who organised this role at the Peterborough branch after Nottingham pioneered the scheme a couple of years earlier. Over four years John travelled the length and breadth of the Peterborough and District branch area – one of the biggest in the country – on public transport and he personally inspected and gave the LocAle certificate to over 100 pubs. It was a source of much amusement within the branch that a younger volunteer with the same amount of stamina as John couldn’t be found to take on the role.

John was a regular volunteer at numerous beer festivals. He was best known at Peterborough where he was the staff bar manager for eight years.

For the volunteers who helped at the festival John was like the father figure; nothing was too much trouble and he was always the calm individual you wanted in charge when things got hectic.

At the Saturday evening staff party the familiar sight of John in bow tie was the poignant reminder that another year’s festival was coming to an end. The irony, of course, was the sign above the bar declaring “no tie required”, John’s brilliant sense of humour, as always, ever present.

One of John’s favourite beer festivals was Falmouth in Cornwall and each year he made the long train journey to help out at that event, undoubtedly spurred on by a pint or two of his beloved Cornish ales.

John’s heart and soul were always firmly rooted in the local community pub scene and none more so than in Werrington where he spent many years of his life. It was probably this that convinced John to take a look at the Ploughman, the current Peterborough CAMRA pub of the year, at a time when others may have walked away. From his early recommendations and belief that good things were happening at the pub his work in raising the profile helped give the local area a complete transformation.

The branch would like to offer their heartfelt condolences to John’s family at this difficult time. His absence from this year’s Peterborough Beer Festival will be sadly missed by all of those who knew him.

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