A final farewell to 'Mr Grimsby' John Colebrook
CIVIC leaders and dignitaries gathered at Grimsby Minster yesterday to pay their last respects to "Mr Grimsby", John Colebrook.
Reverend Canon Andrew Dodd led the funeral service in memory of the former mayor and long-serving local councillor, who passed away on Boxing Day.
Among those paying tribute to the 75-year-old were his close friends and Conservative party colleagues, Councillor Philip Jackson and Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers.
Canon Dodd described how Mr Colebrook, who served as a church warden at the Minster in the days when it was known as St James' Church, was a "faithful servant of the Minster church and of the community of Grimsby."
He said that Mr Colebrook had given devoted service to public office as a councillor and mayor, as a member and church warden of St James' and as a loving husband to his wife Pat and her children.
Praising Mr Colebrook's wisdom and thoughtful consideration, he added: "John had a steely determination to speak up for what he believed was right, even if that proved unpopular at times. John was ultimately someone who could be relied upon to give an honest answer to an honest question."
Cleethorpes MP Mr Vickers recalled how he had met Mr Colebrook in 1974, when he first joined the Conservative party and when Mr Colebrook was first elected in the Springfield ward.
"John and I shared many interests: politics, the church, organ music and a love of railways. When I last saw him a couple of weeks before Christmas he still wanted to know the latest gossip from the council, still had an opinion and told us where it was all going wrong!
"He went off to work as an election agent in Yorkshire and for the Conservative party small business bureau, but throughout working away he never broke his links with Grimsby.
"When out canvassing, John was not one to move on when someone said they would not be giving him their vote. John always felt he should let the poor voter know exactly why they were taking the wrong course of action!
"He was a proud Grimbarian, a Freeman and was tremendously proud to have been the last mayor of Great Grimsby.
"John was a man of many parts.
"He was an enthusiastic member of Rotary, and he served his constituents of the borough and this church with distinction."
Mr Vickers also read a few words of tribute from Canon Michael Hunter, the former Rector of Grimsby who was unable to attend the service, describing Mr Colebrook as "immensely loyal to his friends and his colleagues".
Waltham ward councillor Philip Jackson described how he had met Mr Colebrook in the early 1980s and immediately hit it off.
He said: "We agreed on most issues but also held lively discussions on those things we didn't. John always called a spade a spade and I was sometimes on the end of that!
"John was a hardworking capable and caring councillor who always approached issues from a robust Conservative standpoint but who was very pragmatic and a great champion for the people he represented.
"He was an outstanding mayor. He brought dignity and gravitas to the role and was a stickler for protocol.
"He was able to mix and get on with everyone he met.
"He was a great ambassador for the town and was very much Mr Grimsby."