'He was a one-off:' Tributes to Cleveleys businessman 'Mr Fredericks' and community stalwart John Prothero
A Cleveleys businessman and community champion, who has died after a three-year battle with Motor Neurone Disease, has been remembered as a 'one-off,' and a devoted husband, dad and grandad.
John Prothero, 73, who owned Cleveleys menswear store Fredericks on Victoria Road West, was renowned in the town for his community spirit and willingness to help others.
As vice-chairman of the Trader's Association, organiser of the 'Shop watch' radio link scheme to clamp down on shoplifters, and one of the organisers of Cleveleys Car Show and Christmas Lights Switch-on, John had the community's best interests at heart.
In early 2018, John began to experience slurred speech, and was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease later that year.
As the disease progressed his mobility was also affected, and he died at home on March 10 after a three-year battle with the disease.
"John was a wonderful husband and dad, and he would do absolutely anything for anybody," Linda, John's wife of 46 years, said.
"He was known to be an extrovert, always with a magic trick in his pocket, and he was incredibly proud of his children and his grandchildren.
"People have described him as a one-off, and I think he was.
"There was a side to John that I think only those closest to him saw. He was a quieter man at home, he loved to build models and he loved flying.
"When the children were younger we used to take them to the flying fields, which were where the De Vere Hotel is now, and he would spend hours teaching our son Richard how to fly.
"He'd spend lots of time in his workshop building models, in fact there is still an unfinished B17 model in there which he started in the 1990s."
Linda and John met briefly at work in 1970, and three years later, on Bonfire Night 1973, they bumped into each other at the Adam and Eve nightclub in Chapel Street, Blackpool.
Ten months later, the couple married at Bispham Parish Church.
As their children, Lucinda and Richard (Rick), grew older, John and Linda were able to visit more places around the world - and a shared passion for travelling grew.
Their last holiday together was to Dubai in March 2020 to visit their daughter Lucinda and her family, who had briefly moved there just before the Covid lockdown came in to the UK.
"We were so fortunate to be able to see many of the iconic sights of Dubai, as we had never visited there before," Linda continued.
"I have so many wonderful memories of our holidays together, but John was especially proud of getting his PADI certificate after learning to scuba dive. He absolutely loved diving."
John moved from Oldham to Poulton with his parents after leaving high school, to help them run a greengrocers on Breck Road.
Over the years he took on various sales and retail roles, before opening his own stall in the market on Waterloo Road in 1976.
He ran the stall for 10 years, before opening menswear store 'Mr Fredericks' with wife Linda in the Village Walks, Poulton.
As the business grew, the Cleveleys store followed, and so did his passion for the town.
John and Linda's son Rick joined the family business in 2005, and John became involved in trying to tackle shoplifters by coordinating a radio link 'Shop watch' scheme.
He was a member of the Chamber of Trade, one of the organisers of Cleveleys Car Show, the Christmas Lights Switch-on and many more events over the years.
His family described him as "brave and courageous" in his private battle against Motor Neurone Disease, and thanked doctors at Royal Preston Hospital for his care, along with Trinity Hospice for the support they gave to both John and Linda.
John leaves behind his wife Linda, 70, children Lucinda, 41, and Rick, 37, and grandchildren Maya, 14, and Henry, six.
John's funeral will be held today (Tuesday March 23) at Carleton Crematorium at 3.30pm.
Because of Covid restrictions, a live-stream can be viewed here using the password 6198.
John's family have asked for donations to Trinity Hospice in place of flowers. You can donate here.