/ John Syrett

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Pol Syrett - on 11 Jun 2017
I am the late John Syrett's sister, Pol. I have read discussion posted here last year by a number of people about my brother, and am very keen to contact anyone who has climbed with him, especially in Northumberland. I am also very grateful to those of you that I have already met or corresponded with.

I would like to fill in some of the gaps in his life not well known in the climbing community (John was a private person who didn't always share much of his life with others). Although our parents were living in Kent while John was at Leeds University, he went up to Leeds from Newcastle where he spent his school days (Heaton Grammar School). John and I (usually with our parents) explored much of Northumberland during our time there, so he was already familiar with some of the crags, although not as a climber. I understand that John continued to climb to a high standard into the late 70's and 80's, putting up many new routes in Northumberland. Apparently not all of these were recognised by the 'locals'.

John did well in his Physiotherapy course, but chose not to seek work in this field. I believe the idea of working on the oil rigs was to earn money and give him plenty of time off for climbing and biking. He was a keen cyclist. Before the accident on the rig, John was intending to buy a house, and he had saved money to this end.

He suffered from depression from the late 70's onwards (he told me this himself), and I understand he drank a lot, although I am less clear about other drugs. However, he held down his job, did it well, and was well regarded by management and his colleagues. He had close friends that knew he got depressed, but did not know that he drank to excess. So I guess he had himself under control most of the time.

I have lived in New Zealand since 1973. Although I made a couple of trips to the UK before John died, he never visited me here. However, we had a lot in common growing up, and I would like to put together a fuller account of his life than is currently available to interested climbers. So if you have any recollections, suggested contacts, or views on John's life/climbs, I'd love to hear from you.
Deadeye - on 11 Jun 2017
In reply to Pol Syrett:
Hi

You've probably found these resources already, but just in case:
- Suggest you mail Mick Ward directly through the forum; also Gordon Stainforth and Steve Dean
- Jim Perrin wrote an obituary, which I think was in "On and Off the Rocks"
- There's a blog by "Footless Crow" with quite a lot of background.

Best wishes with your research
Post edited at 09:34
Deadeye - on 11 Jun 2017
Pedro50 on 11 Jun 2017
In reply to Deadeye:
Jim Perrin wrote an obituary, which I think was in "On and Off the Rocks"-

It's in "Yes,to Dance" reproduced from "High" magazine from 1985.

Dave Cumberland - on 11 Jun 2017
In reply to Pol Syrett:

My first room mate and course colleague at Hull University went on to Leeds and I believe knew/climbed with John. His name was Brian G Smith. I have no contact details at the moment however.
Good Luck.
DC
Paul Clarke on 11 Jun 2017
In reply to Pol Syrett:

Hi Polly
I hope you got the email I recently sent you
Paul
Pol Syrett - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to Deadeye:

Yes, I have, but thanks very much anyway!
Pol Syrett - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Thanks!
Solaris - on 12 Jun 2017
In reply to Pol Syrett:

We don't know each other, but I'd like to say that the photo of your brother – at Almscliff, iirc – that Ken Wilson put on the front cover of Mountain magazine was a massive inspiration to me when I was a teenager just getting into climbing. I was saddened to hear of his premature death and hope that your research will bear fruitful results.
tomski3 on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to Pol Syrett:

Another person who may also be worth contacting is Don Robinson of DR Climbing Walls in Otley. He often spoke of the first generation of climbers that trained on the original Leeds University climbing wall and John's name came up a number of times in various anecdotes. I'm not sure how well he knew him but he may have contact details of others who knew him well. Good luck.
Andy Wild - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to Pol Syrett:

Hi Pol
I was a friend of John's in Leeds. I've sent you an email, which I hope you receive.
All the best
Andy Wild

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