Town’s farewell to man they named ‘Mr Burgh’

John Panton with his wife Irene on their 60th wedding anniversary. ANL-180514-150835001
John Panton with his wife Irene on their 60th wedding anniversary. ANL-180514-150835001

A minute’s silence has been held for a 91-year-old man who is fondly remembered as ‘Mr Burgh’.

Twice Mayor John Panton passed away in Skegness Hospital on Thursday after spending recent years a resident of the resort’s Meadow Sands Care Home.

It was by co-incidence that members of the twinning group he founded in Burgh le Marsh were greeting friends from Beaumont-sur-Sarth on Thursday evening for an exchange visit.

A statement from Burgh Twinning Association said: “It was during the reception that we were all informed of the death of John Panton that very morning, for which a one minute’s silence was observed. John was a founder member of the twinning association, organising a meeting in Burgh on a cold and snowy Thursday evening in 1988. Expecting no-one to turn up, he was surprised to see about 30 people in attendance.

“John and his wife, Irene, always enjoyed meeting up with long-standing friends, supporting the twinning until they were unable to travel.”

Mr Panton’s son, Jonathon, said: “It’s only in recent years that I have fully appreciated the extent of dad’s contribution to Burgh.

“Early experiences of ‘helping dad’ were ringing church bells; carol singing in the church choir and making garden-party arrangements; canoeing on local rivers; collecting newspapers and silver bottle tops for Blue Peter; painting church fences; cutting the church graveyard; making arrangements for New Year’s Eve parties; and helping wind up the church clock – but obviously as a child you just baseline this as ‘normal’ and can’t put it into context.

“Receiving the BEM was a real awareness of dad’s work and gave an indication of the high level of regard he had achieved within Burgh community.

“As I look back now, I am in awe of his achievements and obviously feel very very proud of all that he has done.

“Dad will be remembered in the family as someone who enjoyed playing games, who enjoyed watching what he called ‘laugh’ programmes on TV.

“What a full life! What an inspiration! What a dad and grandad!”

Mr Panton was born on February 23, 1927, and lived in the Market Place, Burgh-le-Marsh.

He married Irene Pattinson from Darlington, who he met in a dance hall in Scarborough. By coincidence the couple both spent their last few days in Skegness Hospital in the Scarborough ward, after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary at Scarborough in 2012.

As well as being a founder of the twinning group, Mr Panton helped establish Burgh Carnival, secured the freehold of Old Burgh School as a community centre, established Burgh Museum and its move to the Windmill, was a member of Skegness Sailing Club, founding member of Skegness Rugby Club, and an art teacher at Skegness Secondary Modern School in 1967 – 1984.

He also ran the school sailing club and Duke of Edinburgh scheme.

Having previously taught at Burgh, Hogsthorpe and Willoughby schools before going to Cleveland, he went on to St Giles in Lincoln and also ran evening art classes at Lincoln Prison.

His youth work included a club at Scothern and he became an officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs.

In recognition os his service to the community. he received British Empire Medai in 1990. An ornamental fountain was erected in thanks for his services at Burgh School.

He also carried the Commonwealth Games Jubillee Baton through Burgh in 2002.

Mr Panton leaves two sons, Jonathon and David, and four grandchildren. The funeral is to take place at Burgh Church.