Tributes to inspirational Keswick to Barrow hero
Last updated at 16:24, Monday, 02 September 2013
FOR many people, the famous 40-mile slog is viewed as a once-in-a-lifetime challenge, a cruel and gruelling process to be endured rather than enjoyed
But one man’s incredible Keswick to Barrow legacy will see him remembered for more than 1,400 miles of inspiring, supporting and encouraging others to follow in his footsteps.
John Falconer spent almost four decades leading scout groups, family members, friends and colleagues alike from the Lake District through the Furness peninsula.
The 69-year-old, of Langdale Crescent, Dalton, died on August 19.
Mr Falconer took part in his last K2B in 2012, shortly before being diagnosed with cancer, and was handed the Gordon Howell President’s Trophy for completing the challenge 35 times.
Daughter Karen Sturgeon, 43, of Dalton said: “We can definitely vouch for 35, but it was probably more like 38. I can’t remember a time when he didn’t do it.”
Mr Falconer moved to Dalton with his wife, Jean, in 1971.
He became involved with St Paul’s Scout Group, a role he held until he was in his 60s, and began running teams of the youngsters in the K2B. He later went on to lead various different groups.
These included the Five Star Plodders, set up after he persuaded firm friend, John Stevens to walk for the first time. That was in 1982, and Mr Stevens went on to become a yearly participant himself.
Of her husband of 46 years, Mrs Falconer, 67, said: “We have no idea how many people he inspired – lots and lots.
“He would always support people right through it. He actually used to finish it himself and then walk back to make sure everyone was alright.”
Mr Falconer has inspired a family of keen walkers, with Mrs Sturgeon having taken over the running of the Five Star Plodders last year. His two eldest grandchildren have already done the challenge several times, with the others eager to follow in their footsteps.
As well as his K2B efforts, Mr Falconer was well-known in the community for his work with the Parkinson’s Society, Probus and the Methodist church in Dalton.
The family has received letters from his scout groups describing him as “inspirational” and countless cards from wellwishers.
Mrs Sturgeon said: “He was just friendly with everybody. If anyone needed help, he was always there.”
Mr Falconer leaves behind two more children, Andrew Falconer, 45, and Jo Falconer, 38.
He is also missed by his beloved grandchildren, Matty Ostle, Oli Falconer, Charlie Ostle, James Falconer, Emily Falconer, Tom Sturgeon and Katy Sturgeon.
Mrs Falconer said: “The kids used to come in and it wasn’t ‘Hi Grandma’, it was ‘Where’s Granddad?
“They said he was the best granddad in the world.”
First published at 16:01, Monday, 02 September 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
John was my Scout leader in the late 80's early 90's at St.Paul's. Cracking bloke who had a lot of time for anyone, not seen him in a lot of years but have fond memories of the lads and dads camps, doing the K2B with him and the trip to Kurten in Germany in 1989. RIP John.
I met Mr.Falconer whilst he was having his regular treatment at FGH.
He was a lovely man with a good sense of humour. Mr. Falconer was always positive in his outlook and it was a pleasure to have met him. Gone but not forgotten. My thoughts are with his family.