John will be greatly missed

PUBLISHED: 11:39 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 May 2010

John Costello

John Costello

A POPULAR and respected ambulance driver from Royston has died at the age of 90. John Costello, of Days Close, died at Richard Cox House, Royston. He was born in Kilkee, on the west coast of Ireland and grew up with one sister and three brothers. John mov

A POPULAR and respected ambulance driver from Royston has died at the age of 90.

John Costello, of Days Close, died at Richard Cox House, Royston.

He was born in Kilkee, on the west coast of Ireland and grew up with one sister and three brothers.

John moved to England just before the Second World War when he was 23-years-old.

He came over with a friend and together they helped lay runways at Bassingbourn.

Initially, John wanted to join the RAF but was not accepted because he was Irish. He did, however, join the Home Guard and worked for the Ministry of Defence.

In 1950, he joined the ambulance service and became a retained fireman.

John's wife, Jean, 81, said: "John was always dedicated to his work and he got on so well with all his ambulance colleagues.

"If there was an accident at Johnson Matthey, John went and picked people up and they always said they knew they were in good hands."

Nicknamed Dr Quack, John was always on hand. He kept a first-aid kit, a pillow and a blanket under the stairs of his home and if a neighbour had an injury they would always visit John.

Jean said: "Everyone so dearly loved him so it's like a hole has been made in the town."

John and Jean were married for 63 years after marrying at Royston's Roman Catholic Church, and they had three children, eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Jean said: "We had 63 wonderful years together. I feel I have been gifted with one of the best gifts I have ever had so it's going to be hard to be parted from him."

John is also remembered for his charity work. He regularly held street sales to raise money for Addenbrooke's Hospital, Royston Hospital, Magpas, the emergency doctor service, St John Ambulance, Richard Cox House, and the Royston Health Centre.

Royston mayor Cllr Bill Prime said: "John has raised thousands of pounds for charity which is great, and I was told he's delivered about 150 babies while he was in the ambulance service.

"He was a wonderful man and he will be greatly missed. Whenever I saw him I remember his face lighting up."

After retiring in 1980, John spent his spare time gardening and spending time with his family.

Maureen, John's youngest daughter, said: "I have lost my soul mate.

"My dad was a lovely family man and kept that gentleness right up until the end.

"If you were ever troubled he always knew and would always be there for you. And you would walk away like a weight had been lifted off your shoulders.

"They broke the mould when they made him."

John's son Roger Costello said: "He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was a pure gentleman.

Roger worked with his father when he was in the fire service and his dad was in the ambulance service.

John's charity work and the 30 years he dedicated to the ambulance service was recognised when he met the Queen at a Royal garden party at Buckingham Palace.

"It was one of my greatest memories," Jean said.

"John was a Royalist. He was so proud going to the Palace and had always wanted to meet the Queen.

"We had a flag pole in the garden and at every Royal occasion the flag would go up."

Although John led an active and healthy life, six years ago he developed Alzheimer's and for the past year was a resident at Richard Cox House.

John's funeral took place at the Royston Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday followed by a burial at Royston cemetery.

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