John Eckersley died peacefully on 4th January 2021 at home, in Flamborough, in the company of his wife, Nancy and his daughter, Tanya.
John was well-known across the Diocese. He was first licensed as a Reader in the Diocese of Jamaica in 1974 and has served the Church in the Diocese of York and the Diocese of Ripon, in that capacity for more than 40 years.
John was always conscious of his calling as a teacher. He first taught in secondary school whilst on VSO in the Sudan, then in Manchester, in York, in Jamaica, and for 25 years at St Aidan’s CE High School in Harrogate. At St Aidan’s he also worked as a lay chaplain inspiring his students in practical Christianity, through his somewhat wacky Assemblies, fund-raising activities and stories of DIY, earning himself the staff nickname of ‘Johnny Carport’.
After his retirement from school teaching, he continued following his calling as a teacher and fund-raiser by heading up Summer-club activities for primary school children in York and continuing to take primary school assemblies as an official Christian Aid volunteer in York and then later in Flamborough, Bempton, Kilham and Scarborough when his wife, Nancy, retired from stipendiary ministry.
He is best known for his fund-raising activities for Christian Aid, his writing of walking books and his long-distance walks. John and Nancy have together raised around £200,000 for Christian Aid Projects through their sponsored walks and John’s books. The first long walk was an epic five month Land’s End to John o’Groats (covering 1,400 miles). This was followed by Carlisle to Bridlington, Dover to Carlisle, Dundee to Inverness (the long way around the coast) and Filey to York Minster. On these walks they visited, spoke and prayed in churches, Cathedrals and Abbeys along the route.
Donations in John’s memory can be made to the Christian Aid Appeal for help to developing nations during the pandemic.
He leaves his wife Nancy, four children and nine grandchildren.