THE THURROCK community was in mourning after hearing the news that much-loved historian Jonathan Catton has passed away.
Jonathan worked as the council’s heritage officer for over 28 years.
His knowledge of Thurrock’s history from the Purfleet origins of the author of Amazing Grace to stories of fleeing spies at Tilbury docks were simply enthralling.
We have already had a number of tributes.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill said: “Jonathan was Thurrock’s Heritage and Museums Officer for 28 years, but his impact on the borough was much bigger than his role.
He was often described as ‘Mr Thurrock’. He always had an interesting fact to hand and truly did know everything about everywhere in Thurrock. I had met Jonathan on lots of occasions and he truly brought history alive for the young and the old.”
Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Graham Snell said: “There are very few people who can have such a wide and lasting impact on a borough. It is with little doubt that Jonathan Catton was one of those special individuals. I am very proud of where I live and work and his knowledge of this wonderful area could not be doubted.”
The leader of the Thurrock Labour group, cllr John Kent said: "I was shocked to learn of the sad death of Jonathan Catton.
"For as long as I can remember Jonathan was a fixture in the world of Thurrock heritage. Whether as curator of the Thameside museum for over a quarter of a century, a stalwart of the Coalhouse Fort project or regular contributed to local newspapers.
Jonathan had a real passion for Thurrock, he was a fantastic story teller, genuinely funny and a wonderful advocate for our borough.
He was absolutely encyclopaedic in his knowledge of Thurrock’s history – a one man, walking Wikipedia of Thurrock.
I was proud to count on him as a friend and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Linda and their family.