Tributes paid to much-loved Harpenden performer

John was a keen fundraiser and loved performing.

John was a keen fundraiser and loved performing. - Credit: Archant

The family of a man who died unexpectedly have paid tribute to him for being a “true gentleman”.

John Sangster, who was born in Harpenden, passed away suddenly in the garden of his family home in Lancashire and was discovered by family members early last month.

The 65-year-old grew up in Harpenden and attended Roundwood Park School. After leaving school, John completed an apprenticeship at Marconi Instruments, which was based in Hatfield Road, St Albans. He was also an active member of Harpenden Scout Group and St Albans Rugby Club.

He moved to Lancashire when he met his wife, Hilary, who he had been married to for 40 years. Together they had one son, Marshall.

John was a member of several theatre groups and played in an unaccompanied folk band. He performed at different venues in the area including the Wheatsheaf in French Row. Marshall said: “My father was a true gentleman and took great pleasure in helping others, from fixing a puncture to carrying someone’s shopping and raising thousands of pounds for local and national charities.

“His love of music started in Hertfordshire on the local folk scene and remained with him.”

John was a keen fundraiser and he and his wife had recently raised money for Grove House Hospice by taking part in the Harpenden 10K run last year.

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Together they also offered Christmas dinner and entertainment to the lonely and homeless in St Albans during the festive season.

John was scheduled to perform in a production of Guys and Dolls at Preston Guild Hall, in Lancashire, before he passed away.

Marshall added: “When he died, it was such a shock because he was healthy.

“He would lighten a room with his presence, on and off stage.

“We will miss him dearly; he was a character that can’t be replaced.”