Tribute: Admiration for John

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I was saddened to read of the passing of John Rushton MBE, who, among his many contributions, was formerly a lecturer and organiser for the Workers’ Educational Association. I would like to take this opportunity to add my condolences to all who knew him and to pay tribute to his memory.

Although our paths never crossed, I’ve long admired his books on local history, and as I am now the current Workers’ Educational Association organiser for Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale, enjoy them with added delight. It’s a great pleasure whilst reading to feel I’m being expertly guided by a colleague who was doing much the same job as I am now but over half a century ago, a wholly unearned sense of following in revered footsteps.

What escaped my attention however was his role in the creation of the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre. When I had the good fortune to start organising courses for the association in Scarborough last year, I made it one of my objectives to see if the association could team up with some of the key cultural players in Scarborough. As a result, those of you who are interested will soon start to notice a big increase in the association’s cultural studies courses locally. But one I’m particularly excited about is a 10 week course starting in September to be run in association with the Maritime Heritage Centre. Alongside visiting this wonderful local resource on Eastborough, this perhaps represents one of the best opportunities yet for Scarborians to really get to grips with their fascinating maritime heritage.

So, mixed with regret at his passing, you can imagine the poignant feeling I had in realising that this course will inadvertently reunite these two strands of his life’s work, and that in a small way it will help to promote and celebrate his invaluable legacy to Scarborough and North Yorkshire.

Steven Blockley

Workers’ Educational Association

Yorkshire and Humber Region

North Yorkshire

Hanover Walk

Leeds