Journalist John Dodd dies at South Harting

John Dodd pictured in 2013 with two books he had published
John Dodd pictured in 2013 with two books he had published

WELL known journalist John Dodd died suddenly at his South Harting home late on Boxing Day.

John, who was 75 on December 11, suffered a heart attack.

He was a legendary figure across West Sussex and Hampshire, where he was born and brought up, as well as on Fleet Street where he spent much of his working life.

He wrote a whimsical column for The Chichester Observer.

Jo Rothery, previously the edition editor of the Observer, said: “One of the best ‘old-school’ journalists around, John was also a real gentleman and will be sadly missed.”

John was born and brought up at The Harrow pub in Steep with his sister Ellen and brother Haden, where his parents Annie and Arthur were landlord and landlady.

They later bought the pub and it remains in the family today, run by his sister Ellen and her husband Eddie and now by his nieces Nisa and Claire McCutcheon.

John went to school in Petersfield and then at the age of 15 he began work as a trainee journalist on the Petersfield Post.

He went on to a newspaper in Slough and then to the Manchester Evening Echo.

He married Isobel in 1963 and they went to the United States for a year where John worked before returning to England where John went on to Fleet Street.

The family settled in Fernhurst before moving to South Harting in the 1980s.

The couple had a daughter Adele and Isobel had a son Andrew from her previous marriage

Isobel died suddenly in South Harting 12 years ago.

Throughout his life John believed strongly in the importance of local pubs being at the heart of their communities.

He organised cricket and darts teams for his own pub at South Harting, The Ship.

He was also a great lover of the countryside having grown up at Steep where he spent his childhood playing in The Hangars and his love of all things rural was frequently echoed in his columns.

Last year he achieved a great ambition when he had an ebook published and he continued to write stories for the nationals and the local newspapers until his death.

His funeral will take place at the parish church in South Harting, but arrangements have yet to be finalised.