All too soon after mourning the sad loss of our President, John Heelis, the Society has lost another stalwart supporter. John Hurst, who many of you will remember as a reporter on and then editor of The Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, died in January, aged 80. John’s funeral was in early February so, by the time you read this, many, many Westmerians and others from afar will have recorded their thanks to him.
Our first meeting took place in his office when I went to look at photographs of Appleby which had escaped the newspaper’s modernisation process. The photographs were in ‘hard copy’ and could be looked at. Anything I found interesting, he allowed me to copy onto slide. By that time, John had ‘retired’ and taken up residence in an upstairs room at the Herald offices, from whence he hammered out his weekly ‘View from the King Street Window’. The Society kept him supplied with copies of our Newsletter, which he often quoted in support of one campaign or another – most recently council secrecy, which was something to which he was very much opposed. A talented writer and newspaperman, John described the Newsletter as “energetic” and “readable”.
John could not have been more helpful and encouraging. He, like me, bashed out his articles on a battered manual typewriter. He, like me, thought best when supplied with regular cups of coffee. But there the similarities end. John Hurst really was a journalist. It was his profession for over sixty years. An almost impossible act to follow, let us hope that someone with John’s sense of history and social awareness continues to look from the King Street Window.