It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of John Warren. He was 91.

John was a link to the birth of our group, the Brighton & Hove Ramblers, attending and contributing to meetings of the Steering Committee in the early 80s when details of the shape and scope of the group were being thrashed out. RA200 - the 200th branch of the Ramblers, just ahead of Edinburgh – was finally launched on Thursday 22nd April 1982 at Hove Town Hall. Over 100 people attended what was a lively and 'full' meeting. Some wondered why it had taken so long to launch such a group given the size of the population and location next to the South Downs!

John was duly elected as our first Social Secretary and immediately set about filling the group's social calendar with darts matches, talks and slide presentations, weekends away and a tour of the Brighton Sewers to mention only a few! He remained on the committee serving in a variety of posts - Publicity Officer, Footpath Secretary, Group Secretary - in each of which he participated and contributed fully. In 1990 John was elected to the post of Chairman which he held till 1993 before becoming Honorary President.

Aside from his committee duties John was a stalwart if not idiosyncratic walk leader! Some of us might remember these quotes which often 'enlivened' his walks:

“Does anyone know where we are?”.

“We aren’t lost – just temporarily off course!”

Here is just one of the many heartfelt memories we received:

'We always had a dig at him when he was leading and went wrong because he rarely did a prewalk. He in turn got back at me when I made a mistake on an evening walk and had to walk a few miles extra and finished in the dark, requiring my dog to lead us in pitch dark conditions across a single plank bridge all holding on to the one ahead, no one had a torch. After this John issued a directive to all walkers to have a torch in their kit! On another occasion when we came into a field with a stream and no apparent crossing point John turned to Paul Hearne for advice and he was unable to help and then John became very concerned until I found the crossing point and was able to complete the walk'.

John will be greatly missed not just for his many contributions as a committee member and walk leader but also for his wry sense of humour, kindness and friendship. His legacy lives on in the group which he did so much to create and which is thriving, active and, above all, growing.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his children Jonathon and Jacqueline and his grandchildren.

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Comment by Stuart Ellis on May 1, 2020 at 11:42

I received this email from his son Jonathan:

'Thank you so much for the tribute to dad. Rambling was such a big part of his life in later years and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to accompany him on many of his final walks, undertaken during the the last five years or so that he walked. Although that ended ten years or so ago I have fond memories of the group, many of whom have emailed me or phoned with messages and condolences. 
His funeral is on Monday 4th May at Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, unfortunately we are limited to just ten attendees but I know that many of his old friends from the Ramblers will be there in spirit and will raise a glass in his memory. Dad always liked to end a walk at a pub!'

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