THE THURROCK Arts community was in mourning today (Tuesday) with the news that the chair of the Thurrock Arts Council, John Scowen has passed away.
John (59) passed away after a battle with Motor Neurone disease. He leaves a wife, Jane and two daughters, Sophie and Sarah, as well as his own parents.
John lived in Palmers Drive, Grays and worked, until latterly, as a senior procurement officer at Havering Council.
But John would not want an obituary that was stark and foreboding. John Scowen was the type of man who would want love, light and laughter to punctuate, celebrate and pay tribute to his life.
Let us not forget that most people will know John because of the theatre and will know John because he was a fine actor, a fine comic actor.
John had a way with a deft look, a quizzical air and a comedic shrug. We can also say that these talents extended to the role as a magistrate, where many a defendant, who gave what John felt was a less than honest account of where they were on the night in question, was met with a rising of the eyebrows and a look to the side.
This reporter remembers him best as the man who single-handedly kept the Thurrock Drama Festival going year upon year upon year. Each and every night, John looked resplendent in his black tie as he kept the whole thing going over eight nights and countless acts.
A spokesperson for Thurrock Courts Players said: “We are devastated at the news of John’s passing. John Scowen was Thurrock arts. he was a pleasure to work with, a consummate professional and a very sweet man.
“John was funny, erudite, witty and charming. But he also had a commitment to the arts and to the world of amateur dramatics.
‘It would be a fitting legacy that we all make sure that the arts continue to thrive in Thurrock, as a lasting and fitting legacy to Thurrock.
“We will all miss him terribly. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Deputy leader of Thurrock Council, cllr Val Morris-Cook said: “I am very saddened by this news. John was a fabulous man who worked tirelessly to promote the arts. Funny and full of integrity, he will leave a huge void in Thurrock.”
There will be more details and further tributes to follow.