Suffolk: Tributes paid to ‘face of Southwold’ John Veitch after fatal Halesworth crash

Tributes have been paid to John Veitch (middle) who died in a crash in Halesworth on Thursday. He is pictured here meeting the Queen in Stowmarket in 2002. Tributes have been paid to John Veitch (middle) who died in a crash in Halesworth on Thursday. He is pictured here meeting the Queen in Stowmarket in 2002.

Saturday, February 22, 2014
9:40 AM

Tributes have been paid to an 88-year-old man described as “the face of Southwold” after he died in a tragic road collision in Halesworth.

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John Veitch holds up a poster outside the new Tesco Express store in Southwold along with fellow protestors in opposition of the shop selling newspapersJohn Veitch holds up a poster outside the new Tesco Express store in Southwold along with fellow protestors in opposition of the shop selling newspapers

John Veitch was last night named by police as the man who died when the car he was driving crashed in to a shop on the junction of Bridge Street and The Thoroughfare.

His blue Volvo struck the side of women’s clothing store Valerie’s – the former site of The Hawk Inn – at around 3.10pm on Thursday.

Mr Veitch, the only occupant of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of emergency crews.

No other injuries were reported and a structural engineer worked to ensure the building was made safe.

Mr Veitch is believed to have lived in Southwold for more than 40 years and was both a former chairman and president of the Southwold and Reydon Society; and before that a long-serving member of the committee.

Last night, John Perkins, secretary of the society, led the glowing tributes to the man who was “part of the DNA of Southwold”.

“He will be genuinely missed. He was in many people’s eyes ‘Mr Southwold’ – he was the face of Southwold,” Mr Perkins said.

“He had lived here for 40 years or more and was passionate about the town. When people thought of Southwold, they thought of John Veitch.

“He believed in very much what Southwold should stand for. He was not a revolutionary by any means; he was just someone who cared very much about Southwold.

“He was very active in the town and was always on-side campaigning on behalf of it against anything that might spoil it.

“I remember when Tesco moved in around three years ago he was one of the leading protesters holding a poster outside. He also campaigned against the Costa Coffee shop which opened last year.

“He was a prominent campaigner and the sort of character that everybody liked. He was a prominent man around Southwold for a long time. It will be a much poorer place without him.”

It is thought Mr Veitch was married twice and widowed twice, and it is also understood he had two sons; one who died and the other living in Norwich.

Simon Tobin, mayor of Southwold, paid his respects to the man he described as “the stalwart of Southwold”.

“He was a character who wore many hats and was someone who greatly contributed to a cross-section of many things for the community of Southwold. He will be greatly missed,” he added.

Suffolk Constabulary last night renewed their appeal for witnesses to the collision to come forward.

They are keen on speaking to people who saw the vehicle, which came from the direction of Quay Street and New Cut in Halesworth.

Call police on 101 with information.

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