DEVASTATED members of the community across Evesham have paid tribute to John Darby who died following a short battle with cancer.
The brainchild and driving force behind the town’s Street Pastors lifeline passed away on Monday (January 15).
In a statement posted to social media, Evesham Street Pastors confirmed his ill health in recent months after a cancer diagnosis in the summer.
A devoted Rotarian and community champion, John delivered the Street Pastors scheme from its formation in October 2013. He regularly welcomed new members to the scheme.
In addition, John was a source of knowledge to co-ordinators setting up similar scheme in the heart of Worcester.
Since it began, the service has seen caring volunteers on the streets of Evesham on busy weekend nights to look after revellers who may need a helping hand on a night out.
Volunteers came together as part of a project by Churches Together in Evesham. All of the town’s churches became involved with the Street Pastors scheme.
In a statement on social media, Evesham Street Pastors said:
“John was a good and kind man and a great encourager. He loved to see people discover their gifts, and often worked hard to create opportunities for people to serve with joy.
“Just over ten years ago John had a vision that led to the formation of Evesham Street Pastors (ESP).
“He worked tirelessly to see ESP become a notable part of the town each weekend, as he and the committed teams of volunteers worked with other agencies to serve many hundreds with a calming, compassionate presence.
“John was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. As an MD of a construction company in the local area, John was widely respected, but he always wanted to ensure he was seen as a Christian first and foremost.
“John has run his race, he has finished his course.
“May he now know the peace and love of his Heavenly Father as he rests in Him awaiting the resurrection through his Saviour Jesus Christ.”
His devotion to Christianity was reflected in a tribute from All Saints Church which simply read:
“A profound and substantial loss”.
Town residents paid their respects to a ‘great ambassador’ and a ‘truly kind and charitable man.”
Former Mayor of Evesham Sue Amor said:
“So sad to know that I will never see this wonderful gentle soul again.
“I was so proud that he agreed to be my chaplain while I was Mayor.
“He was such a support for me and always willing to give me help and advice when I needed it. Heaven has certainly received an angel today!