Our former colleague John Banks died on 31 July, aged 69, just two years after retiring from writing for WCN Publishing on WorldCargo News and Bulk Materials International. John had a varied and interesting career, at sea and on land. As a journalist, he combined industry knowledge with an affable and unassuming personality that earned him the confidence, trust and friendship of many industry contacts.
Described by one family member as the “last English eccentric”, John had two dress codes when on field trips or attending trade shows – very smart (‘Mr Toad’) and ultra-smart (‘City Gent’).
Deadlines for John were a flight of the editor’s fancy, but his copy was worth waiting for. As a former seafarer and simply as a good, engaging man who took an interest in people, he had many amusing tales to tell (some perhaps taller than others).
He began his working career on BP oil tankers, and then worked on North Sea supply boats and on Dutch barges in the Low Countries and on the Thames. In this capacity, he delivered grain from Tilbury to Addlestone Mill, via Walton lock and the Wey Navigation, which explains why he and his wife Brenda settled in Addlestone, Surrey.
He also had spells in PR, notably for his friend the late David Cheslin at Dunelm, and later he worked directly for Kalmar. He also worked as a golf club groundsman and as a boatyard technician.
As a journalist, he had a great affinity with Finland, although did not always appreciate being required to go there while it was gripped by winter fastness. He also built up tremendous contacts in Sweden, the Low Countries and Ireland, and the latter became of great importance to him because of Brenda’s roots. John himself was an Anglo-Scot, and had great times in Scotland with Brenda and long-standing friend and industry contact Ron Sim.
With his training as an engineer and ‘hands on’ experience, John understood as a journalist the challenges that shipboard and port equipment suppliers and their customers faced, and this always informed his writing. John’s Thanksgiving Service in Weybridge was attended by many former media colleagues – a testament to the high esteem in which he was held.
John was buried at sea. We regret his passing and offer our condolences to Brenda, all of his family, and many friends.