‘Life won’t be the same’: tributes to Horsham community champion John Le Rossignol

Horsham community champion John Le Rossignol SUS-190907-094609001
Horsham community champion John Le Rossignol SUS-190907-094609001

Community champion and leading Horsham Rotarian John Le Rossignol has died at the age of 72, following a long illness.

He died on Friday July 5 and his wife Eileen has paid tribute to the former winner of two West Sussex County Times Community Awards.

John Le Rossignol and wife Eileen SUS-190907-094620001

John Le Rossignol and wife Eileen SUS-190907-094620001

She said: “John retired from an international career in IT in 2000 and we moved from Belgium to Mannings Heath.

“John soon put his energy and networking talents to good use when he joined Horsham Rotary Club in October 2000, his first-ever Rotary meeting was interrupted by the arrival of daughter Maya, an all-round momentous day.

“Horsham Rotary weren’t to know what they had taken on. John put his energies into all sorts of projects from bringing fresh water to the African village of Rumuruti to projects closer to home.

“KidzStuff 2007 was a massive undertaking at Leonardslee Gardens, which aimed to bring children together to enjoy circus shows, Big Trucks, inflatables, science exhibitions with eminent scientist Heinz Wolf, overnight camping with the SAS, food and drink - all in one place.

“KidzStuff continued for a few years moving into Horsham Park with the popular Guinness Book of Records ‘biggest’ challenges – custard pie fights, sponge fights and, best of all, gunge fights with television’s Dave Benson Philips.

“Then came its replacement Sparks in the Park and finally Funday Sunday and this year was John’s finest Funday Sunday to date and such a shame that he didn’t quite make it.

“Anyone might think that these annual shows would be enough to keep you busy, not John. We had been in Edinburgh and seen decorated Giraffes in shop windows used as a means of promoting business. John was passionate about helping Horsham businesses not just to survive but to thrive.

“This led to the ideas for the Giraffe Trail (2013), Elephantastic (2015), The Horsham Pancake Race, The Easter Bunny Hunt, Trick or Treat, Children in Need, all of which came as a result of John’s work with local businesses.

“John loved nothing better than wandering around Horsham stopping for a coffee and a chat, he thrived on listening to people’s views and problems and seeing how Horsham Rotary could help.

“John wanted people to know that Horsham Rotary was there to help the community.

“It was this drive and passion which saw the birth of the Set4Success charity. Since its inception in 2011 it has helped over 150 young athletes by giving them financial awards sponsored by local businesses.

“It also encourages local businesses to get involved in sporting challenges from darts to ultimate frisbee and anything else he and Ian Ford, from Horsham Council, could think of.

“John never wanted his name in lights but he was delighted to receive recognition from the club in the form of The Paul Harris Fellow and from the community in 2011 as Best Fundraiser and a Special Recognition Award in 2014.

“Aside from Rotary, John was involved in many community projects in the Parish of Nuthurst and Mannings Heath as a parish councillor and an active parishioner.

“John and I loved entertaining and had countless parties and events at home from small dinners to street parties and mass lunches, friends new and old were brought together to just have fun and John was a master at making everyone feel their friendships were special – and they all were.

“John’s children Fleur, Josie, Tom and Maya and grandchildren will all miss his limitless energy and sense of fun.

“For me, life quite simply won’t be the same.”