Death of north-west poet John Clays

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John Clays, a stalwart of Wigan and Write Out Loud, passed away recently. A much-loved character of the Wigan and Bolton events over the years, John often had a smile and a sestina to share. I first met him 10 years ago when he and his lovely wife Sandre were studying a poetry module at Bolton University. John particularly impressed with his technical approach to poetry, and also his wit. Over the years he became a loveable character at the Tudor House in Wigan and though his health may have declined, his passion for poetry didn't. He will be much missed. The funeral will be held on Thursday 18 October at 9.30am at St Edward's, Scot Lane, Wigan. John Togher

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Wed 17th Oct 2012 17:24

Sandre, So sorry to hear...just today.I remember writing John a little tease..."sestina and fukinelle". He seemed to love it even if it didn`t deserve it. I also remember a very nice man right from when we all first met at the Frog & Bucket a long time ago. Very best wishes, David Makin.

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jane wilcock

Tue 16th Oct 2012 23:02

I've just read this and thanks for announcing his death, John. When I joined WoL he and Sandre came to every Bolton WoL event and I thought they were a great team. They made me feel very welcome and my knowledge of history (put to poetry) improved immensely too through his historical sagas. He had a great feel for the past actions of men and whole battle fields could come alive. I am very sad for Sandre, all my love.

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Tony Walsh

Tue 16th Oct 2012 22:48

I was very sad to hear this news. I've very fond memories of John and Sandre's double act, including more than a few that bring a real smile to my face. My condolences and very best wishes to Sandre and the family. Cheers, John, mate! Thanks for your part in many a great night. *raises glass* Tx

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Tue 16th Oct 2012 17:27

Lovely,friendly couple,John and Sandre.Will miss hearing John's words of wisdom through his poetry,and also his presence on the Poetry Scene.
Wigans lost a good 'un.

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chris yates

Tue 16th Oct 2012 13:33

My condolences to Sandre and would like to say that John will be sadly missed, rest in peace,John.

darren thomas

Tue 16th Oct 2012 13:17

So sad to hear this news. A beautiful, gentle soul. My thoughts are with Sandré and John's family.

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Andy N

Tue 16th Oct 2012 13:16

nice guy. will miss not seeing him round anymore.

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Tue 16th Oct 2012 13:11

Very fitting words Mr Togher.

I was shocked to learn of John's death and would like to offer my condolences to Sandre and the rest of John's family.

John and Sandre had long been an integral part of the Wigan poetry scene when I first discovered the Tudor - and what a wonderful team they made. John will be sorely missed. I do hope that Sandre will come back to the Tudor when she is up to it - there will be a well of support there waiting for her.

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Julian (Admin)

Tue 16th Oct 2012 11:45

Meant to add that he was a bugger for dragging out his entry onto the stage. Nothing to do with anything but his desire to build up the dramatic tension. Skill, that.
Can't stop thinking about him.
If you can get to the funeral, let's give him a bloody good send-off eh? It's at 9.30 Thursday, but be later if John has anything to do with it.

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Dave Morgan

Tue 16th Oct 2012 11:43

John and Sandre seemed to have the capacity to get to the furthest frontiers of the NW poetry scene by public transport in any weather, even if it meant leaving within an hour of getting there. We also shared many evenings even further afield courtesy of the Poetry Bus. They were a poetic tag team. My thoughts are with Sandre and my memories with John. He graced many venues and many events. John knew his poetry but he and Sandre also knew the value of fellowship and camaraderie and were up for anything. RIP John.

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chris stevenson

Tue 16th Oct 2012 10:41

... very sad to hear this .. I remember John reading his poems in the 'Sweet Green Tavern' along with Hovis Presley and John Jelly .. what a line-up and what a loss unfortunately.

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Laura Taylor

Tue 16th Oct 2012 10:16

Thanks John

And rest in peace, John. My sympathy and condolences to Sandre - take care.

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Julian (Admin)

Tue 16th Oct 2012 09:55

Reading this was such a shock. John (T), lovely words, I agree with Joy.
John Clays - Mr Sestina - was one of the longest-attending Writers-Out-Loud. He and Sandré attended our first events at Bolton's Sweet Green then the Howcroft, travelling all the way from Wigan by bus. and John's contributions were always greeted with enthusiasm, and some awe at his mastery of poetic form. In spite of his technical prowess, he was not in the least elitist but always supportive of his fellow reader-poets and interested in everything that was read. He had a superb sense of humour and eminently capable of directing it at himself.
I am so sorry that Write Out Loud, the poetry world, and his family have lost a great friend and poet.
Paul, who is abroad at the mo, has asked me to pass on similar thoughts from him.

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Joy France

Mon 15th Oct 2012 23:30

Thanks John - What lovely words for a lovely man. The instant outpouring of expressions of loss that have appeared on facebook tonight have been a fitting honest testiment.
People from far & wide have stated their admiration for the man and the poetry... and their deep sympathy for Sandre. I, alongside so many others, mourn his passing.

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