John Cole served as an Executive Committee member of ACERT until he became ill early in 2016. John worked as the coordinator of Traveller Education in Liverpool for 25 years, after training as a youth worker at Cartrefle College in North Wales.
In his Eulogy, his younger brother said “John was the loveliest, kindest, sweetest most caring person you could wish to know.” That was the experience of those of us who worked with him. He added, “John never liked to talk about his achievements, but from what others have said, he was well liked and much respected by the people he worked with, and worked for.”
John spent his teenage years in a Children’s home, after his mother died, but characteristically had fond memories of that time. He had two daughters, six grandchildren and an extended family to whom he was very close; “Family meant everything to John.”
He was multi-talented, forming a vocal group with friends and becoming a hospital DJ. He read widely, wrote poetry and prose, sketched, painted and was a good photographer. His pictures were exhibited at the Caribbean Centre and Charles Wooton Centre in Liverpool.
John would strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere – a pub, shop, hospital or taxi rank, laughing and joking with strangers as if he’d known them for years.
Less than a year ago, and shortly after embarking on a new relationship, he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He never showed self-pity, telling his brother he felt blessed and had had a good life.
His brother described him as “a beautiful, remarkable, loving man” which is a description we recognise and endorse. Rest in peace John.