‘Sad loss’ after death of fisherman and community stalwart
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The last of a generation of a Suffolk fisherman who became a “long-standing stalwart” of his coastal hometown has died.
The death of former Southwold fisherman, harbour master and mayor John Winter - also known as Dusso - has prompted an outpouring of tributes across the town which he became synonymous with over the decades
Mr Winter served as a town councillor in Southwold for many years after being elected in 1972, including as mayor in 1983-85 and 1998-99 - and was not afraid to speak his mind about the future of the resort, according to fellow councillors.
But what came across strongest of all was his love for the town where he grew up and lived all his life, as well as his encyclopaedic knowledge of Southwold and its history.
Suffolk County Council chairman Michael Ladd, who served with Mr Winter for many years on Southwold Town Council, said: “He was a long-standing stalwart and an integral part of the town.
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“His background was as a fisherman and he was very involved in the harbour. He was a real Southwold character and a Southwold person through and through.
“He was one of the few remaining old Southwold characters - there aren’t many left.
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“His knowledge and experience of the town was second to none. What he didn’t know about Southwold wasn’t worth knowing. He will be a sad loss to the community.
“He was well-known to visitors and local people. He was always very helpful and knowledgeable.
“He was never frightened to say what he thought, which is always good for a councillor. Sometimes that doesn’t go down well but he was always very dedicated and said what he felt, which is quite important.
“He was a very interesting character - fully committed and he dedicated his life to the community.”
Southwold resident Laurence Vulliamy added that Mr Winter had been “very important to Southwold”.
Mr Vulliamy added: “John was an authority on Southwold’s old fishing practices and often recalled the Southwold characters that he grew up with and the generations before.
“For this he was the media’s ‘go to person’, well known for his iconic Suffolk accent. John inherited the nickname ‘Dusso’ from his father Jimmy ‘Dusso’ Winter.
“John was a fine Dixieland jazz trumpeter and used to lead The Blyth Valley Stompers.”
In 2018 Mr Winter published a book on the history of Southwold Harbour, recording many of his memories and his knowledge about the area.
He was also chairman of the Southwold Sailors’ Reading Room for 26 years and spent a further 10 years as its president.
As mayor, Mr Winter led the town’s opposition to international proposals to develop the town marshes into a marina in 1984, which were thrown out.
He was also involved in the continuing battle with Waveney District Council over the ownership of the town’s marshes.
Several people have commented on social media to pay their respects.
One wrote on a Southwold Facebook page: “So many stories and a big part of so many peoples lives in Southwold will be fondly remembered and never forgotten.”
Another said: “Such an amazing man, with so much knowledge of his beloved town. John was a mine of information.
“His like do not come along very often, we have lost a great gentleman and an iconic figure in Southwold.”