The Melton Times Big Interview with John Southerington

John Southerington
John Southerington
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Q What is your background and how did you get involved with removals?

A My grandfather started the removal business 123 years ago, when at the age of 20, he purchased a tram horse from London at the costly sum of £5. The horse arrived by train and was promptly set to work.

The business operated for over 70 years at 34 Burton Street (now Ocean Blue chip shop) with stables at the back.

I’ve been involved in the affairs of Melton in various roles and capacities over the last 40 years. There has been five generations involved in the business with me being the third and my son Paul becoming the latest.

I’ve served as a borough councillor for Craven Ward from 1983 to 1987, I have served as a governor at four schools in the town and borough for the past 35 years. As chairman of the Chamber of Trade in the 1980s I was involved in promoting tourism for the town and borough with the likes of BBC’s ‘It’s a Knockout’ and ‘Anything Goes’ to name but a few things that raised the profile of the town.

I’m now serving again as a Feoffee for the Melton Mowbray Town Estate. It was possibly a combination of these community activities why I was nominated to be an Olympic Relay Torch bearer for the 2012 Olympics.

Q Have you always had an interest in history?

A My headteacher at Brownlow School took history and brought it to life, so much so that it influenced you to delve more into the local history of Melton.

Being a Meltonian, born and bred, I have a vested interest in the town. Melton has been good to me, my family and the company. By researching the town in projects undertaken for the Town Estate I’m trying to bring our heritage back to the forefront of people’s minds.

Q What was the driving force behind the Melton Times ‘War Memorial Appeal?

A The War Memorial in is in the town to recognise those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their town and country.

“At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we shall remember them.” At Remembrance Day services each year, we say this as we lay wreaths at the Memorial Terrace in Egerton Park Memorial Gardens, but the names currently on the War Memorial are only part of the story.

On the first eight tablets - those soldiers who were killed in World War One, there are 246 names recorded, and one that is repeated.

The research that is progressing as part of the War Memorial Appeal with the assistance of Trevor Hearn, the Melton Times and the Town Estate suggest that the number recorded should be in the region of 450, (this is just the number of persons who either were born, resided or enlisted in Melton) during the first World War.

The driving force behind the appeal is to put the record straight and to get photographs, where possible, of those named on the memorial, their family history and to make sure the sacrifice they made should not be forgotten.

The information gathered would be included on Interpretation Boards in the Garden of Remembrance, as well as the Town Estate’s website, on a ‘time-line’ basis, to show the impact the loss of life must have had on the local community.

This is something I feel is worth recording so it is not forgotten by the future generations, and the project will be used in schools as an education tool.