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Tributes flood in for Stourbridge glass expert
TRIBUTES have flooded in for a much-loved Stourbridge glass expert and historian who died this week.
Retired solicitor John Sanders from Wollaston passed away in his sleep early on Tuesday January 10 - after months of ill health following a stroke last August.
The 77-year-old was renowned among glass and history fans in the area for his wealth of knowledge about Stourbridge’s glass industry.
He also often spoke out on issues affecting his hometown and was particularly vocal when it was first feared world famous Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford could be closed to help save council cash.
Mr Sanders, a grandfather-of-two, was also a frequent letter-writer to his beloved Daily Telegraph.
His daughter Clair de Groot, aged 47, said her father had a great sense of humour of wit. She added: “He was a gentleman who always wanted to do the right thing and he was a loving husband to Eileen.”
She continued: “He was also a thorn in the side of the local authority and if there was something that did not seem right he would attack it with vigour; he was always protecting what was good about things.”
Born in Stourbridge in 1934, Mr Sanders attended King Edward VI Grammar School as a boy and following a period of National Service he studied history and French at university in Hull. After a briefly training to be a teacher, he ditched education for law and landed a position as an articled clerk in the Lake District.
When fully trained in criminal law he became a police prosecution solicitor back in Stourbridge before starting up his own law firm in Church Street in 1980.
He retired in the late 1990s and immersed himself in his passion for Stourbridge glass and history.
He gave many public talks and in 1994 became founder chairman of the new Friends of Broadfield House Glass Museum - a position he held until 2001.
He was also chairman of the governors and a trustee at King Edward VI College for many years and was a fond follower of Worcestershire County Cricket and a long-standing member of Stourbridge Rugby Club.
Long-time colleague and fellow glass expert Graham Fisher described him as “one of life’s nice guys and a very well-read man”.
Friend and fellow chairman of the Friends of Broadfield House, Barbara Beadman, said: “He’s going to be sorely missed.
“He was one of a kind. He’d got a command of the English language that was wonderful and common sense in bucket loads. He really was a super person.”
As well as wife Eileen and daughter Clair, Mr Sanders leaves a son Richard - a major in the British Army, and grandsons Bradley and Luke.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be made. A minute’s silence will be held before Stourbridge Rugby Club’s home game against Birmingham and Solihull Bees this Saturday as a tribute.
A Facebook site has also been set up for friends, family and colleagues to leave tributes and memories of John.