Barwick Methodist Church and schoolroom were filled to capacity last Friday for a Service of Thanksgiving celebrating the life of John Botterill, one of the village’s best known residents, who died recently, aged 82.
Led by Barwick’s Methodist Minister, Rev John Mason, the service enabled family members and friends to acknowledge John’s many years of dedicated service as a police officer in both the Leeds and West Yorkshire forces, as well as his voluntary work as a preacher and Barwick in Bloom volunteer.
A stalwart of the Methodist Church, John was an inspiring preacher who conducted services in Barwick and other local Methodist churches with great warmth, always greeting everyone at the door and welcoming visitors.
Born in the East Yorkshire village of Nafferton, he pursued a career in journalism, working as a reporter on the Driffield Times for five years, until being ‘called up.’
After completing his National Service he joined the City of Leeds police force as a constable, rising through the ranks to become Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, a post he held for six years. Before retiring in 1972 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal, the country’s highest award attainable by police officers.
West Yorkshire Police were represented at the service by Inspector Mick Preston, who read a lesson, while former police colleagues were among the congregation.
John, his wife Pamela and their family lived in Temple Newsam for more than 25 years, moving to Beck Meadow, Barwick, in 1988 to enjoy village life.
Eulogies recalling John’s achievements and memories of a life well lived were delivered by John’s son Nigel, his daughter Elizabeth Hawkhead and her 18-year-old son Daniel, one of his six grandchildren. One of John’s nephews, Tim Sharp, read a lesson while another, Rev Alistair Sharp, led prayers of thanksgiving.
John was one of the founders of Barwick in Bloom 21 years ago. As well as volunteering with the gardening team on Wednesday mornings he hosted the group’s coffee mornings and other fundraising events.
Fellow volunteer Geoff Yapp told the Wetherby News: “John was Treasurer of Barwick in Bloom from its formation until recently, when we appointed him our President.
“His contribution to our efforts to enhance the village were so much appreciated by so many people and he was a brilliant event compere.
“John was working for Barwick in Bloom until just days before he died, busily completing ‘The First 21 Years of Barwick in Bloom.’ The publication of this beautiful book by his family, as a commemoration of his life, will be a fitting tribute.”