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Obituary

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

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John Jenkins Goddard, Scilly

"When I think of St Martin's, I think of John."

That was a comment by one of the many island mourners who converged from all corners of Scilly on tiny St Martin's Methodist Chapel for the funeral of long time councillor, 82-year-old John Jenkins Goddard, writes Clive Mumford.

The chapel itself and the adjacent hall both full, there was outside standing room only to say farewell to a Scillonian whose name over the years became synonymous with his native island.

He was born at Rose Villa, Highertown on July 8, 1930 – the third child of Eric and Lily Goddard.

A St Martin's-born friend, Doug Nance, a mainland-based retired bank manager who gave the funeral address, recalled idyllic childhood days with John fishing off the quay, snaring rabbits and beachcombing the shoreline.

Both were christened on the same day in the island chapel.

After attending the tiny island school John, aged 10, went on to Truro School where his love of cricket made him into a steady medium-pace bowler of nagging accuracy.

With National Service still in force he joined the Royal Air Force Police in Wiltshire and for a while flirted with the idea of making it a career but a flower-growing uncle and aunt of St Martin's Lowertown needed help so he left the RAF and worked for them.

On April 28,1957 at Tresco's St Nicholas Church, he married the former Edna Oyler of Borough Farm. Thereafter inter-island rivalry presented a "who to support" poser for Edna; her brother Roger – a good cricketer – turned out for Tresco.

Edna and John were to have three children Andrew, Mandy and Tony.

After his aunt and uncle retired and left for Cornwall, John and Edna took over the business, but during the 1970s, when flower farming was proving unprofitable they converted former stables and a garage into what was to become The Sevenstones Inn pub which they ran successfully for over 25 years before selling in 2000.

John was prominently involved in many strands of island life. He fished, with pots and nets, was an influential member of the old Sea Fisheries Committee now an Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, and helped to ensure the islands' fishery kept its autonomy when that status was under threat.

He was a long time St Martin's coastguard winning long -service awards. He was a founder trustee in the 1980s of the islands' conservation body, the Environmental Trust (now the Wildlife Trust). He was a staunch cricketer – keeping the game alive on his home island and delighting in playing for Scilly in a collective XI against mainland sides or when touring on the mainland.When the individual off-islands found it increasingly difficult to raise sides John would be a regular in off-island XIs.

It was perhaps as a councillor that he will long be remembered, his service – barring a slight hiatus of a few years in the 1990s – spanning an impressive 37 years.

He was an assiduous meetings attender, rarely put off by adverse boating conditions which would deter many others. He was a loyal representative of his St Martin's constituents but his voting was invariably motivated by what was good for Scilly as a whole.

Methodist Minister Charlie Gibbs officiated at the funeral service, Mr Nance gave an address and John's eldest son Andrew read Masefield's 'Sea Fever'. Island council chairman Mike Hicks, in chain of office, spoke of a valued colleague and friend and humorously referring to John's tendency towards thrift said: "We often used to say 'when you go you can't take it with you': with John I'm not so sure."

He is survived by his wife Edna, three children Andrew, Mandy and Tony and three grandchildren Laura, Samantha and Dan. He was interred in St Martin's Churchyard.

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